Men's colleges in the United States

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Hampden–Sydney College is the oldest of only three private, non-religious, four-year, all-male colleges in the U.S.

Men's colleges in the United States are primarily those categorized as being undergraduate, bachelor's degree-granting single-sex institutions that admit only men. In the United States, male-only undergraduate higher education was the norm until the 1960s. The few remaining well-known men's colleges are traditional independent liberal arts colleges, though at present the majority are institutions of learning for those preparing for religious vocations.


Historically, many colleges in the United States were gender-segregated. Alfred University in upstate New York was founded in 1836 as a co-educational institution. Northwestern University and Washington University in St. Louis were some of the first men's colleges to begin admitting women, doing so in 1869.[1][2] However, mixed-sex education did not become the norm until much later. Notably, Wesleyan University began to admit women in 1872, but abandoned the practice in 1912, when it became all-male once again, and would not admit women again until 1972.[3]

By the 1960s, and particularly in 1969, most of the remaining male-only institutions began to admit women, including Georgetown University, Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University (women had previously been admitted to graduate programs only), and Yale University. Claremont McKenna College, then Claremont Men's College, started admitting women in 1976 after being founded as a men's college for World War II veterans on the G.I. Bill. Columbia College of Columbia University held out even longer, and did not admit women until 1983, three years after Haverford College admitted its first female students. By that point, most men's colleges had already disappeared from the American academic landscape.

The most notable[citation needed] men's college to begin admitting women in recent years is the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), which had been sued by the U.S. Department of Justice in 1990 for discrimination. The Department of Justice argued that since VMI was a public institution, it could not prevent women from attending based on gender alone. Due to United States v. Virginia, VMI admitted its first female cadets in 1997. Deep Springs College in California, an unusual two-year school that has only one or two dozen students, began admitting women in 2018.[citation needed]

Although most non-religious men's colleges now face the question of co-education, some new men's colleges have been proposed. One of the most frequently discussed is the Southern Military Institute, which has been proposed as a new men-only alternative to the now co-educational VMI and The Citadel, the latter of which admitted its first female students in 1993.


Four-year men's colleges[edit]

As of 2020, there are three private, non-religious, four-year, all-male college institutions in the United States. These are:

Morehouse College is the nation's only historically Black men's college.

In April 2019, Morehouse announced that it will begin admitting transgender men for the first time in 2020, becoming the first standalone all-male college in the U.S. to adopt a policy on transgender students.[4]

Two-year men's colleges[edit]

Although it now offers associate's degrees, the Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades was established as a free vocational school and is usually not considered a traditional men's college although it is a non-denominational independent institution that enrolls no women.[5][6] Taking inspiration from Williamson, the Harmel Academy was opened in 2020 as a Catholic vocational school for men.[7][5]

Religious seminaries[edit]

Additionally, many seminaries officially operate as men's colleges, though they are traditionally not frequently included in the lists of men's colleges. These include The Master's Seminary in Sun Valley, California; the Saint Meinrad School of Theology in Saint Meinrad, Indiana; and Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut.

Counterparts and coordinates[edit]

A few men's colleges exist as components of a larger co-educational institution or partnership. Such arrangements were formerly much more common, but most ended with a merger or with one or both institutions becoming co-educational in the second half of the twentieth century.

Some universities separate their undergraduate students into individual, gender-conscious colleges. Yeshiva University oversees the all-male Yeshiva College as well as the Stern College for Women. The University of Richmond has Richmond College for men and Westhampton College for women. At Tulane University, Tulane College was for men and H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College was for women. The two have now merged due to the financial devastation to the university after Hurricane Katrina. In each of these cases, the individual colleges have their own residence systems, advisors, staff, student governments, and traditions separate from their male or female counterpart.

Several cases exist of men's colleges that are formally independent but have close academic relationships with women's colleges on adjacent campuses. Unlike the single-sex colleges at Yeshiva and Richmond, they are not considered to be two colleges within one larger university, but instead two independent colleges joined together in a partnership arrangement. Current examples include Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York and College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. As a member of Atlanta University Center, Morehouse has extensive cross-registration and resource sharing with Spelman College (all women) and Clark Atlanta University (coeducational).

Coeducational programs and services[edit]

As with many women's colleges, some men's colleges do have a limited number of coeducational programs and services. Saint Meinrad and Holy Apostles allow limited enrollment for lay women in specially designated courses, while Master's operates a Seminary Wives Discipleship program on its campus for ten weeks each semester. Hampden–Sydney provides a female-only guest house on its campus for college visitors.

List of men's colleges[edit]

As of April 2007, the College Board lists 66 colleges in the United States as officially being men's colleges. These are mostly Orthodox Jewish Rabbinical colleges (yeshivas), with a large concentration of Rabbinical colleges being located in the New York City metropolitan area.

According to the College Board's statistics, at least 15,183 men in April 2006 were attending the following institutions that are not open to female enrollment, with 13 schools not reporting their enrollment figures:

Traditional institutions[edit]

Religious vocational institutions[edit]



Non-College Board[edit]

Although undergraduate institutions for men only, or admitting women only to special programs, these colleges are not officially listed as men's colleges by the College Board:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Documenting the Lives of Northwestern University Women". Retrieved 2010-01-12.
  2. ^ "Women at Washington University: Introduction". Archived from the original on 2010-08-02. Retrieved 2010-01-26. (Women admitted to law school in 1869; first undergrad in 1870)
  3. ^ "Wesleyan University:A Brief History". Archived from the original on 2009-03-30. Retrieved 2010-02-19.
  4. ^ "All-male historically black Morehouse College will admit transgender men". The Guardian. Associated Press. April 13, 2019. Retrieved April 13, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Hess, Frederick (2019-10-21). "Straight Up Conversation: A Tuition-Free, Purpose-Driven, Coat-and-Tie Trade School". Education Next. Retrieved 2020-11-20.
  6. ^ "10 Minutes Away From Swarthmore, America's Finest Vocational School - The Phoenix". 2014-10-23. Retrieved 2020-11-20.
  7. ^ West, Perry. "New Michigan vocational school combines Catholic education, skilled trades". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 2020-11-20.


  1. ^ Has some co-educational cross-registration with other institutions.
  2. ^ Saint John's University and the College of Saint Benedict share resources and a curriculum, while Hampden-Sydney College, Morehouse College, and Wabash College do not share resources or a curriculum with another school.
  3. ^ A three-year school instead of a four-year school like Hampden-Sydney College, Morehouse College and Wabash College.