Contemporary menstrual studies

An interdisciplinary Master’s level course

•  Join a dedicated group of colleagues from around the world

•  Receive a wealth of information to inform your future work

•  Learn from Dr Lara Owen, a pioneer and expert in the field

•  Gain acknowledgment for your study through our certification process. 

This masters-level course is designed to develop your understanding of menstruation today in the contexts of business, feminism, history, law, public health, public policy, popular culture, religion, sustainability, sport, technology, wellbeing, and the workplace.

The course was created and launched in 2022 by Dr Lara Owen. Course content is updated every year as new research becomes available.

The organization of the course is also changing as numbers grow. New developments for 2024 include the appointment of Grace Hempshall to the role of Course Administrator, a change in structure to one pre-recorded lecture and two hour-long seminars per module, and the announcement of a second year starting in 2025 (for people who have already taken the first year).

To learn more about the course, please read the rest of this page first. If you still have any questions or wish to express your interest in signing up for 2025, please email Grace. 

Enrolment for 2024 is now closed.

who it’s for


The course is designed for people eager to deepen their knowledge of menstrual studies, whether as a preparation or adjunct for formal postgraduate research and/or to inform their work as menstrual educators, activists and clinicians.

Menstruation is a fascinating and necessary topic, and it is also complex. Ideas, beliefs, practices and needs surrounding menstruation impact upon and are affected by different aspects of life. Accordingly, the topic is researched in many academic disciplines, each of which has their own preferred research methods and theoretical perspectives, yet which all speak to the topic. 

This means it takes a great deal of study to get a handle on the wider picture of menstrual research, to find out what we know and don’t know, and to understand prevailing ideas in context. Taking this course will help you with that process and guide you through the existing literature and research so that you can understand the topic with more assurance and depth.

The field of menstrual studies is rapidly developing and it is so exciting to see new knowledge emerging. But as yet there is no dedicated preparatory pathway at university level for postgraduate study, or related support for menstrual education, public engagement and activism.

This course fills the gap in available education for people who want to learn in depth about menstrual culture and practices, and be equipped to understand research across disciplines. The course will help prepare you for Master’s or PhD research, and/or build your strengths as a teacher or public communicator in the field.


Comments from previous participants

“I feel privileged to have been in the first cohort of this thought-provoking course. Lara’s considerable experience, engaging delivery and supportive approach has made it an incredibly valuable contribution to my PhD studies. Sharing ideas with an internationally diverse group – all passionate about menstruation – has deepened my own commitment to making a meaningful contribution to destigmatising and dignifying the menstrual experience and its many milestones.” Karen Abi-Karam, Sussex, UK, PhD student, Research Centre for Transformative Change: Educational & Life Transitions, University of Dundee

Being part of the Contemporary Menstrual Studies course was one of the best expanding experiences in my professional career. As a Ph.D. student in menstrual health in India, I was looking for guidance to strengthen my work. In the process of this course, I was able to believe in myself again as a researcher and as a writer. Dr. Lara has an amazing way to guide you and support you in your work. Taking this course has been one of the best experience that one can have as a woman, a researcher, or someone keenly interested in menstruation.” Erika Lizbeth Vega Anaya, PhD student, Mexican currently living in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India 

“I am very grateful for having had this unique opportunity to attend the Contemporary Menstrual Studies Course for the class of 2022. I have gained in-depth and practical knowledge in every aspect of the topic of menstruation and a rich and detailed understanding of feminism. I highly recommend this fantastic course to everyone passionate about women’s rights.” Andisheh Jahangir, Health Project Officer, Iran

“Opting to participate in the course proved to be one of the best decisions I have made. The comprehensive curriculum deepened my understanding of various aspects of menstruation, and the course provided valuable access to educational and practical resources. Dr. Lara Owen, an exceptional educator, offered phenomenal support throughout the course, further enhancing my learning experience. The knowledge and skills gained will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on my menstrual advocacy efforts and contribute to my ability to effect positive change. I strongly recommend this course.” Wendy Atswei Laryea, Chevening Scholar, Founder at Inspire to Rise, Ghana

“Taking the Contemporary Menstrual Studies course was an immeasurable experience encapsulating historic, diverse, in-depth material surrounding menstruation. Lara’s wealth of knowledge and magnitude of resources have given me the tools to build a stronger intellectual understanding of what menstruation really looks like in media, politics, the workplace and more. The vast nature of the seminars are harmonized by Lara’s eloquent and integrative teaching style. This is a course I would love to take over and over as it continues to expand. What a liberating experience it was for me.” Elena Mischal, Virginia, USA.

“Contemporary Menstrual Studies has been one of the single most significant and expansive experiences in my professional development as a menstrual educator. This course, with its comprehensive, considered and unparalleled scope, offered us a type of ground and breadth of knowledge that is largely lacking within the field of menstruation as a whole. Dr. Lara Owen is an incredible teacher and brilliant mind. I continue to feel privileged for the opportunity I had to study with her, and receive her masterful guidance and support as I navigate my own contributions to the field of menstruation. I am grateful for this course beyond measure.” Samantha Neal, Menstrual Educator, Byron Bay, Australia

“Joining the Contemporary Menstrual Studies course has been an exciting and much needed opportunity. The wide range of areas covered within the course has allowed me to explore many new avenues of interest, whilst deepening my existing knowledge with up to date research and context. Lara delivers the lectures in such an accessible manner and her vast knowledge, interest and enthusiasm has given me a thirst to continue learning in this field. It’s been great to connect with the other students who are based all around the world. This is an excellent course and I thoroughly recommend it.” Grace Hempshall, Menstrual Educator, Somerset, U.K. 

“Contemporary Menstrual Studies is a highly transformative process. I have acquired new tools for multidisciplinary analysis of the menstrual experience. The cultural diversity of the participants enriches these experience  by learning from each other and creating new awareness on the different realities.  Dra Lara is an amazing educator who holds safe space not only for learning, but also for a personal transformational process. I highly recommend it.” Mariana Soriano – Sexual & Menstrual Educator. Co-Founder YAWAR Project, Bolivia. 

Being a part of the Contemporary Menstrual Studies course was genuinely inspiring. Across 10 modules, each delving into various themes related to menstruation, I had the opportunity to explore the latest developments in menstrual studies, in terms of theory but also practice. Lara, our exceptional professor, guided the class through a fascinating learning journey, attentively listening to students and fostering an environment that embraced diverse perspectives. I consider myself fortunate to learn from such a master in the field. Don’t miss the chance to be a part of this enriching experience! Nicole Spohr, PhD, Menstrual educator and activist, Amsterdam and Brazil.

“This class was such a pleasure to be in and the highlight of my 2023. It exceeded my expectations and was exactly the kind of grounding in menstrual studies I had been looking for for years.” Kate Uhlman, Operations, London.  

The Contemporary Menstrual Studies course has provided me with the knowledge and confidence to bring the conversation around menstruation to different environments and to increase my efforts to fight its stigma. It has opened my eyes to all the areas that are influenced by the menstrual cycle and helped me to evaluate more critically what I read and see about menstruation in the written and online media.” Didi Ananda Rashmika, yogic missionary and menstrual activist, Dutch based in Colombia.

“Lara’s Contemporary Menstrual Studies course was a privilege to participate in. It was fascinating to learn both how broad and limited research with regard to the menstrual cycle has been. Being able to virtually connect with other individuals working in the realms of menstrual education, advocacy, research, and beyond created a beautiful context in which participants could share their own experiences, questions, and insights–all the while guided by Lara’s extensive knowledge and wide scope of the field. Lara’s dedication to ensuring menstruation receives the attention that it both requires and deserves is an inspiration for menstrual educators, activists, researchers, and for anyone who menstruates or who knows someone who menstruates (that is to say, everyone).” Molly Haglund, South Gippsland, Australia. 

What the course offers

An overview

The course offers a solid knowledge foundation for those wanting to pursue further study at Masters or PhD level and/or who work with menstruation and menstruators in any context.

The course is taught online and consists of written content, lectures, seminars (guided group discussions), videos, reading lists, and participant assignments.

To aid in knowledge integration and to assist students in developing their areas of interest, there is a short assignment for each module and two longer research-based assignments with one due towards the end of each semester.

At the end of the course a certificate is awarded to those who successfully complete all assignments.

How it works

Course design


We keep the enrolment process as simple as possible. To begin with, please make an expression of interest by writing to Grace. You will then go onto the waiting list (with no obligation). Information on fees and times will be made available nearer to the opening of registration in September, and at the same time you will receive a short list of questions. If the answers to these are satisfactory we will send you further information on how to enrol. Please note that numbers for the course are limited due to the teaching method of small seminars, and the work involved in supervising and marking your individual research projects. This is a close learning experience with Dr Lara Owen only available through this course.


The course is structured like a university course. There are two semesters of 12 weeks each, with a two week-long breaks in each (situated around significant national and religious holidays), and a three month gap between the two semesters.

During term-time, there is a combination of lectures, seminars, videos and readings for each module, with content made available as PDFs and video recordings, and one live group class each week.

Two different times are offered for the live classes. This year (2024) the classes are being held on Sundays at 7 pm and Wednesdays at 9 am (UK time). Both classes cover the same topic, but the conversation element will of course develop differently in each class. You are welcome to attend both if you would like.


The time commitment for online attendance is an hour a week, for 20 weeks in total. On top of that, you need to plan time for several hours of reading per week for each topic, for watching pre-recorded lectures, and for short assignments such as watching a video or writing in your journal on a specific topic.

In addition, there are two substantial written, research-based assignments. These assignments are due for submission in Weeks 11 and 22.

To allow you to catch up with reading and to focus on your independent work, the semester breaks and the three month space in between the two semesters form a pause in the taught new information. This timing is also important in helping you to integrate the course material.


There is a broad and comprehensive reading list for the whole course. Key papers and additional reading are made available to you for each module.

DATES for 2025

The 2025 course will start on March 23. Most likely classes will be held at the same times as this year, on Sundays at 7pm and Wednesdays at 9 am, UK time. A full calendar will be published later in 2024.


Lectures are pre-recorded and the videos uploaded to the website when the module opens, a week before the module starts.

Video recordings of lectures cannot be downloaded, but will be available to view until the end of your scholastic year.

You also have access to the Powerpoints from the lectures, which can be downloaded so you have them in perpetuity.

Recordings of seminars are not made available, so people feel free to say what is on their mind. An exception to this is made for the final seminars in Module 10, by which such fears will hopefully have entirely faded. This is the integration module, which does not have a lecture with new information, and depends upon sharing and conversation as an important way to integrate and deepen knowledge.


The course brings together people passionate about the topic of menstruation from around the world. Since its inception in 2022, the course has been taken by students from all six continents.

We have a WhatsApp group for past and present students to connect and stay in touch, and to build a community of expertise and ongoing support.


Every year there are one or two full scholarships and some partial scholarships (75% reduction) available for people living and working in low-to-middle income countries. 

Scholarship applications for 2024 are now closed. The availability of scholarships for 2025 will be announced in December 2024, along with instructions on how to apply


Graduating from the course and receiving the certificate of completion is determined 50% through attendance and participation, and 50% through written assignments.

You need to attend at least 80% of seminars (there is one per week during the semester), and to participate in them, demonstrating you have read the required material and watched the pre-recorded lecture. For the assignments, you need to submit them on time and to a satisfactory level.

Certification is given in UK postgraduate style with three levels of Distinction, Merit, and Pass.

is it right for

your level of learning?

Ideally you will have at least a Bachelor degree or similar qualification, but if you can show evidence of equivalent independent study or experience that may also allow you to take the course. If you are uncertain, email us with any queries before signing up. This is a postgraduate academic course situated at first year Master’s level.

The course is taught using clear language with an emphasis on building capability to enhance understanding. You will have time and space over the year to grow your ability to express your knowledge and thoughts in more specific and accurate language, and to understand key theories and research methods being used.

Overall, the skills and information you will learn will add to your capability and authority as a menstrual practitioner, teacher and communicator, whether inside or outside academia.

what you will study

course modules in BRIEF

Each lecture provides an overview of current knowledge and activity in the specific topic. It also pays attention to the main theories and research methods used in the topic.

Semester One

01. Introduction to Contemporary Menstrual Studies

A brief history of menstruation and Menstrual Studies; an overview of the key theoretical perspectives and research methods used in menstrual research; how to approach and get the most from this course.

02. Menstruation in popular culture

Changing conceptualisations and representations of menstruation in film, tv, art, advertising, fiction, non-fiction and social media.

03. Menstrual stigma

Menstrual stigma in religions and in secular society. How menstrual stigma influences female embodiment and sense of agency, and impacts upon the study of menstruation. How to identify when research, activism or commentary is unwittingly reproducing stigma. What can happen when stigma is dismantled: examples from studies on menstruality and other spiritual approaches. 

04. Menstruation and feminism

How the various streams of feminism have approached menstruation and how this is changing.

05. Menstruation, wellbeing and health

New menstrual health research and changing knowledge about the menstruating body and mind.

Semester Two

06. Menstruation, business and technology

The corporatisation of menstruation; the product focus; the role of corporate marketing in normalising specific ideas and practices surrounding menstruation; femtech and its implications.

07. Menstruation and the workplace

Menstruation at work; ideas and methods surrounding menstrual leave and mentrual flexibility; contemporary menstrual workplace policies; how specific syndromes impact upon work and career and the current research focus on endometriosis at work.

08. Menstruation and sustainability

Conceptualisation of ‘sustainability’ and associated ideas; how these impact menstruation; how developments in menstrual sustainability feed back to broader environmentalism. Research on ‘sustainable menstruation’ and what needs to be addressed moving forward. 

09. Menstruation, public policy and the law

The path to public policy change and what has enabled this; significant legal changes over the past decade; the political and national agendas involved in supporting menstrual-positive legislation.

10. Integration and summing up

The importance of integration in learning and ways to enable this. Whole group Q & A and discussion about moving forward and participant plans for future work.