How Many All-Male Colleges Are There

How Many All-Male Colleges Are There

Once a cornerstone of American higher education, all-male colleges have steadily declined in number, leaving behind a legacy of tradition and raising questions about their future. Today, these institutions stand at a crossroads, clinging to their unique educational philosophy while facing the challenges of a rapidly evolving societal landscape. This article looks into the dwindling number of all-male colleges, exploring the historical context, the reasons for their decline, and the potential paths forward for these institutions in a world increasingly focused on co-education.

How Many All-Male Colleges Are There

As of 2023, there are only four remaining, four-year all-male colleges remaining in the US

  • Four-year all-male colleges: Only four remain in the United States:
    • Hampden-Sydney College (Virginia) – This roughly 1,000-student college in rural central Virginia is well-known for its exceptional faculty and its blatantly conservative student body. At Hampden-Sydney, students adhere to a rigorous honor code and take their studies very seriously. Football is a major sport, and on football weekends, students dress formally.
    • Morehouse College (Georgia) (Historically Black College and University (HBCU) – This 2,900-student college in Atlanta is one of the most prestigious historically black universities in the country in addition to being an all-male institution. Although there is a strong sense of unity among students, the academic environment is challenging. Everyone wants to see the other succeed. Although there aren’t many activities available on this dry campus, students can still find plenty to do because it’s in Atlanta. Additionally, Spelman College, a prestigious historically black college for women, is only a short walk away.
    • Wabash College (Indiana) – Situated in Crawfordsville, Indiana, a small town, this 977-student school may not seem like the most exciting place to learn. But in addition to having a strong sports and fraternity scene and a reputation for academic excellence throughout the Midwest, Wabash also boasts a large student body that is deeply engaged in the community. Wabash stands out due to its students’ exceptionally lax behaviour standards. The Gentleman’s Rule, which says, “A Wabash man is to conduct himself as a gentleman at all times, both on and off campus,” is the only rule.
    • Saint Vincent College (Pennsylvania) – Nestled amidst the rolling hills of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Saint Vincent College stands as a beacon of academic and spiritual growth. Founded in 1846 by Benedictine monks, the college has cultivated a rich tradition of Catholic education, instilling in its students a commitment to faith, knowledge, and service. Saint Vincent College, which has its roots in the Benedictine educational philosophy, emphasizes a holistic approach to education that includes character development and personal growth in addition to intellectual development. The college’s basic values of hospitality, community, love, prayer, and respect for everyone’s dignity are reflected in its motto, “Pax et Bonum” (Peace and Goodness).
  • Two-year all-male colleges: A handful still exist, primarily serving religious communities. An example is the Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades. Inspired by Williamson, the Harmel Academy opened as a men’s Catholic vocational school in 2020.
  • Religious seminaries and military academies: Many remain all-male, though some have begun admitting women. These include The Master’s Seminary in Sun ValleyCalifornia; the Saint Meinrad School of Theology in Saint MeinradIndiana; and Holy Apostles College and Seminary in CromwellConnecticut.

The first independent all-male college in the United States to establish a transgender student policy was Morehouse College, which declared in April 2019 that it would start admitting transgender men in 2020.

Brief History

Higher education was dominated for centuries by all-male colleges. These establishments provided affluent young men with their main education, stemming from European traditions and the idea that men and women had distinct roles in society and intellectual capacities. However, the 20th century saw a dramatic change, with all-male colleges experiencing a sharp decline in enrollment and coeducational institutions gaining prominence.

Early Beginnings

  • 1636: Harvard University, the first institution of higher learning in the United States, opens its doors as an all-male college.
  • 1701: Yale College, another early all-male institution, was founded in Connecticut.
  • 18th and 19th Centuries: The number of all-male colleges steadily increased, catering to the sons of wealthy families who aspired to careers in law, medicine, and the clergy.

Rise of Co-education

    • Mid-19th Century: The first co-educational colleges began to emerge, challenging the long-held tradition of single-sex education.
    • 1872: Vassar College becomes the first four-year college established specifically for women
    • Early 20th Century: Co-education gained momentum, driven by changing societal views on gender roles and increased access to education for women.

Decline of All-Male Colleges

  • Mid-20th Century: The number of all-male colleges starts to decline significantly.
  • 1969: The Education Amendments Act, which includes Title IX prohibiting sex discrimination in federally funded educational institutions, poses legal challenges for all-male colleges.
  • Late 20th and Early 21st Centuries: Most remaining all-male colleges transition to co-educational institutions.

Reasons For The Decline

  • Rise of co-education: The movement towards co-education gained momentum in the mid-20th century, fueled by changing societal views on gender roles and educational opportunities. As co-educational institutions became more widely accepted, they attracted a larger pool of students, further marginalizing all-male colleges.
  • Legal challenges: The Title IX law of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded educational institutions, posed legal hurdles for all-male colleges. While some colleges successfully argued for exemptions based on religious affiliation, others found it difficult to comply with the law and maintain their single-sex status.
  • Changing student preferences: Today’s students are increasingly interested in diverse educational environments that reflect the realities of the world they live in. All-male colleges may struggle to attract students who seek co-educational experiences and opportunities to interact with students of diverse backgrounds.

The Future of All-Male Colleges

While their numbers have dwindled, all-male colleges continue to offer unique educational experiences. Some argue that they provide benefits such as:

  • Smaller class sizes and personalized attention.
  • Focus on male development and leadership skills.
  • Strong alumni networks.


In conclusion, while the number of all-male colleges has declined significantly, they continue to exist and offer unique educational opportunities. Whether these institutions can thrive in the future depends on their ability to adapt to changing societal trends and demonstrate the value they provide to students. Only time will tell if all-male colleges can maintain their relevance in a world increasingly focused on co-educational experiences.


  1. How many all-male colleges are currently in existence?
    • A: As of the latest count, there are a limited number of all-male colleges. The count has decreased over the years due to various factors, including institutional changes and evolving educational trends.
  2. What distinguishes an all-male college from coeducational institutions?
    • A: All-male colleges exclusively admit male students, offering an environment tailored to their educational and social needs. In contrast, coeducational institutions admit students of all genders.
  3. Are there any plans to establish new all-male colleges in the future?
    • A: Establishing new all-male colleges is uncommon in contemporary times. Educational trends generally lean towards coeducation to promote diversity.
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