AskDefine | Define coeducational

Dictionary Definition

coeducational adj : attended by members of both sexes [syn: co-ed]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Of or pertaining to coeducation

Extensive Definition

Mixed-sex education, (or just Mixed education), also known as Coeducation, is the integrated education to males and females at the same school facilities. The opposite situation is described as single-sex education. Most older institutions of higher education restricted their enrollment to a single sex at some point in their history, and since then have changed their policies to become coeducational.
Co-ed (or coed) is the shortened adjectival form of "Coeducation", and the word co-ed is sometimes also used, in the United States, as a noun to refer to a female student at a coeducational college or university. The word is also often used to describe a situation in which both genders are integrated in any form (e.g. "The team is co-ed").
In the United Kingdom, the usual term is mixed, and today most schools are mixed. In England the first public mixed-sex boarding school was Bedales School founded in 1893 by John Haden Badley and became mixed in 1898. The Scottish Dollar Academy claims to be the first mixed-sex boarding school in the UK (in 1818). Many previously single-sex schools have begun to accept both sexes in the past few decades; for example, Clifton College began to accept women in 1987. The oldest originally mixed-sex school still in existence is Tenison's School in Croydon, South London, which was established to provide education for "ten poor boys and ten poor girls" in 1714.


The first coeducational institution of higher education in the United States was Franklin College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, established in 1787. Its first enrollment class in 1787 consisted of 78 male and 36 female students. Among the latter was Rebecca Gratz, the first Jewish female college student in the United States. However, the college began having financial problems and it was reopened as an all-male institution. It became co-ed again in 1969 under its current name, Franklin and Marshall College.
The longest continuously operating coeducational school in the United States is Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, which was established in 1833. The first four women to receive bachelor's degrees in the United States earned them at Oberlin in 1841. Later, in 1862, the first African-American woman to receive a bachelor's degree (Mary Jane Patterson) also earned it from Oberlin College.
The University of Iowa became the first public or state university in the United States to admit women, and for much of the next century, public universities, and land grant universities in particular, would lead the way in higher education coeducation. Many other early coeducational universities, especially west of the Mississippi River, were private, such as Carleton College (1866), Texas Christian University (1873), and Stanford University (1891).
At the same time, according to Irene Harwarth, Mindi Maline, and Elizabeth DeBra, "women's colleges were founded during the mid- and late-19th century in response to a need for advanced education for women at a time when they were not admitted to most institutions of higher education" A notable example is the prestigious Seven Sisters. Of the seven, Vassar College is now coeducational and Radcliffe College has merged with Harvard University. Wellesley College, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Bryn Mawr College, and Barnard College are still women's colleges.
Other notable women's colleges that have become coeducational include Ohio Wesleyan Female College in Ohio, Skidmore College, Wells College, and Sarah Lawrence College in New York state, Goucher College in Maryland and Connecticut College.
In U.S.A slang, "Coed" is an informal term for a female student attending a formerly all-male college or university (or any university).

USA mixed-sex higher education institutes

Dates USA educational institutions became mixed-sex

Schools that were previously all-female are listed in italics.
1860University of Wisconsin-Madison 1867DePauw UniversityIndiana University 1868University of Iowa Law School 1869Northwestern UniversityOhio University 1870Michigan State UniversityUniversity of MichiganWashington University in St. Louis (First women admitted to the law school in 1869)Cornell University 1871Colby CollegePennsylvania State University 1872Wesleyan University (Until 1912, when it became all male once again.) 1876University of Pennsylvania 1877Ohio Wesleyan University 1878Hope College 1883Bucknell UniversityMiddlebury College 1885University of Mississippi 1888George Washington UniversityTulane University Pharamaceutical School University of Kentucky 1892Auburn University 1893Macalester CollegeUniversity of ConnecticutJohns Hopkins University Graduate SchoolUniversity of AlabamaUniversity of Tennessee 1894Boalt Hall 1895Beloit CollegeUniversity of PittsburghUniversity of South Carolina 1897University at Buffalo Law SchoolUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (graduate students) 1900Denison UniversityUniversity of RochesterUniversity of Virginia (nursing only) 1902Miami University 1909Tulane University School of Dentistry 1914Tulane University Medical SchoolUniversity of Pennsylvania Medical School 1917Georgia Tech (until 1934) 1918College of William and MaryUniversity of Georgia 1920University of Virginia (graduate students) 1921Virginia Tech 1922Northeastern University School of Law 1926Centre College 1930Roanoke College 1931Seattle University 1933Furman University 1941St. John's College 1942Clark UniversityRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteWake Forest University 1944Bard College 1946James Madison University (de facto) 1947Florida State UniversityUniversity of Florida 1952Lincoln University 1953Georgia Tech (some programs) 1953Harvard Law School 1963University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (all programs) University of North Carolina at Greensboro 1964Texas A&M University 1964University of San Francisco 1966James Madison University (official)Sarah Lawrence College 1968Georgia Tech (all programs) 1969Connecticut CollegeElmira CollegeFranklin and Marshall CollegeGeorgetown UniversityKenyon CollegeLa Salle UniversityMacMurray CollegePrinceton UniversitySiena Heights UniversityTrinity College (Connecticut) University of the SouthVassar CollegeYale University 1970Boston College Colgate UniversityJohns Hopkins UniversityJohns Hopkins UniversityPitzer CollegeUniversity of Mary WashingtonUnion CollegeUniversity of Virginia (all programs)Williams College 1971Bowdoin CollegeBrown UniversityRobert CollegeSkidmore CollegeStevens Institute of Technology 1972Davidson CollegeDartmouth CollegeHarvard College - Harvard UniversityRadford UniversityTexas Woman's UniversityUniversity of Notre DameWashington and Lee University Law SchoolWesleyan University 1973California Maritime Academy 1974Fordham CollegeUnited States Merchant Marine Academy 1975Amherst College 1976Claremont McKenna CollegeUnited States Air Force AcademyUnited States Coast Guard AcademyUnited States Military AcademyUnited States Naval Academy 1978Hamilton College 1980Haverford College 1982Mississippi University for Women 1983Columbia College at Columbia University 1985Washington and Lee University 1991Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology 1993The Citadel 1997Virginia Military Institute (last state institution of higher learning to become coeducational) 2001Notre Dame College 2002Hood College 2004Immaculata College 2005Lesley College of Lesley UniversityWells College 2006Valley Forge Military College 2007Randolph-Macon Woman's College



The first mixed-sex institution of higher learning in China was the Nanjing Higher Normal School, which was renamed National Central University in 1928 and Nanjing University 1949. For thousands of years in China, education, especially higher education, was the privilege of men. In the 1910s women's universities were established such as Ginling Women's University and Peking Girl's Higher Normal School, but coeducation was still prohibited.
Tao Xingzhi, the Chinese advocator of mixed-sex education, proposed The Audit Law for Women Students (規定女子旁聽法案) on the meeting of Nanjing Higher Normal Institute held on December 7th, 1919. He also proposed for the university to recruit female students. The idea was supported by the president Guo Bingwen, academic director Liu Boming, and such famous professors as Lu Zhiwei and Yang Xingfo, but opposed by many famous men of the time. The meeting passed the law and decided to recruit women students next year. Nanjing Higher Normal Institute enrolled eight coeducational Chinese women students in 1920. In the same year Peking University also began to allow women students to audit classes. One of the most notable female students of that time was Jianxiong Wu.
In 1949, the People's Republic of China was founded. The government of PRC has provided equal opportunities for education since then, and all schools and universities have become mixed-sex. In recent years, however, many female and/or single-sex schools have again emerged for special vocational training needs but equal rights for education still apply to all citizens.

Hong Kong

St. Paul's Co-educational College was the first mixed-sex secondary school in Hong Kong. It was founded in 1915 as St. Paul's Girls' College. At the end of World War II it was temporarily merged with St. Paul's College, which is a boys' school. When classes at the campus of St. Paul's College were resumed, it continued to be mixed, and changed to its present name.


coeducational in German: Koedukation
coeducational in Estonian: Ühisharidus
coeducational in French: Mixité (éducation)
coeducational in Japanese: 男女共学
coeducational in Polish: Koedukacja
coeducational in Vietnamese: Nam nữ đồng giáo
coeducational in Chinese: 男女同校

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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