In 1871, Mother Mary of the Annunciation Beaumont established Ursuline College for Women in Cleveland, Ohio. Mother Mary was a member of the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland, who continue to sponsor the college. Ursuline College for Women was the first institution of higher education in Ohio chartered exclusively for women.
Ursuline College for Women grew slowly, attracting only a small number of women. The institution offered women coursework typical of that men received in other colleges and universities. Ursuline College for Women initially placed a heavy emphasis on liberal arts courses. Over the institution's first several decades, Cleveland experienced tremendous growth, causing the school to relocate to a less commercial portion of the city in 1893.
During the late 1890s and early 1900s, an increasing number of religious schools for elementary, junior high, and high school students opened in the United States. Ursuline College for Women's enrollment increased, as young women sought degrees in education to fill teaching positions at these schools. In 1922, the college relocated to University Circle in eastern Cleveland, where thirty students enrolled in the first year. In 1926, Western Reserve University acquired the building that housed Ursuline College for Women, and the women's college relocated to Cleveland Heights. The institution remained here until 1966, when Ursuline College for Women moved to its current location in Pepper Pike, Ohio. With this move, Ursuline College for Women changed its name to Ursuline College, as the school began to admit male students. The first male graduated in 1975.
In 2006, Ursuline College offered courses in thirty undergraduate and seven graduate majors. The institution boasted an enrollment of 1,400 students. Nine percent of the students were men.