Wane, 55, replaces Australian Wayne Bennett, 70, who leaves after four years in charge.
“I’m honoured to be appointed head coach of England at such an exciting and important time,” Wane said.
The Rugby Football League has also confirmed that Leeds Rhinos director of rugby Kevin Sinfield has left his role as head of the England performance unit.
Former Wigan Warriors boss Wane had been working part-time as a high performance coach with Scottish Rugby.
He added: “Everyone who knows me knows that I’ve always loved the game of rugby league, and been proud of British Rugby League.
“I’m looking forward so much to starting work with the outstanding rugby league players we have in this country, and also the guys who have enjoyed success in Australia in recent years, to do all we can to win the World Cup next year.”
The former prop guided Wigan to three Super League titles in his seven years in charge of his hometown club.
Wane, who played for Wigan and Leeds, won two caps for Great Britain in 1985-86 but has been out of rugby league since leaving the DW Stadium in 2018.
He will take charge for the home series against Australia in November, before the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England.
Bennett, who guided England to the World Cup final in 2017, was keen to stay on for the next tournament, but his leadership of the Great Britain side for the autumn tour of New Zealand and Papua Guinea did not go well.
That tour ended in a 4-0 autumn series defeat – and Bennett’s RFL contract ran out at the end of that tour.
Wane may have just four matches to prepare England for the next World Cup – a proposed mid-season international in June prior to the three-match Ashes series.