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, health, history, law, politics, popular culture, sustainability, spirituality, sport, technology, wellbeing, and the workplace.
The course was created 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.
Enrolment for 2024 is now open.
To learn more about the course, please read this page first, and if you still have any questions, email us using the Contact tab in the Main Menu above.
who it’s for
WHY TAKE THIS COURSE?
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.
What the course offers
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
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.
For the live classes, at least two different times are offered to accommodate the various geographic locations of participants.
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 2024
The 2024 course will start on March 24. A full calendar will be published once enrolment is completed and we know where everyone is living, to accommodate all the relevant time zones.
Lectures are pre-recorded and the videos uploaded to the website when the module opens, at least three days before the module starts.
Video recordings of lectures cannot be downloaded, but will be available to you 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.
Seminars are not recorded, apart from the final seminars in Module 10, which is the integration module.
The course brings together people passionate about the topic of menstruation from around the world.
The course was run for the first time in 2022 with fifteen students from nine countries across four continents. The 2023 course has twenty-two students representing eleven countries across 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.
This year there is one full scholarship and a few partial scholarships available for people living and working in low-to-middle income countries. Please scroll down to the bottom of this page for details of who is elegible and 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.
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.
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.
join the course
book your place
The next course starts on March 24, 2024.
This is a rare opportunity to study in depth with Dr Lara Owen.
To ensure a thorough learning experience, numbers are restricted.
Register early to secure your place.
The full course fee is £2,780.
This fee includes all tuition, academic resources such as e-books and papers, research supervision and assessment.
Some scholarships are available for people living and working in low-to-middle income countries who are already active in the field of menstruation in some way.
To clarify if your country meets the criteria, please see the Wellcome list, which is the source we use to determine this.
There is one full scholarship available this year.
There are also a small number of partial scholarships available. These give recipients a 75% reduction in the course fee. This means that the fee is £695, which can be paid either in full at the start of the course, or in instalments (with a small administrative charge for the instalment process as it takes more work our end).
Scholarship applications for 2024 open on January 1 and close on January 31.
Please be aware that scholarship places are limited.
1. Get your application together. Prepare your CV and a supporting statement (maximum 500 words) detailing your work and study experience, current life situation, and how you intend to apply the knowledge gained in the course.
2. You will also need to include the names of two referees along with their contact information and a brief sentence describing the nature of your relationship with them.
3. Stipulate whether you are applying for the full scholarship or for a partial scholarship.
4. Then email us using the contact form to let us know you are ready to submit.
5. You will then receive a reply so that you can submit your paperwork via direct email.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Applicants will be informed of the decision on their application by February 24. (The course starts on March 24.)
For Registered Participants
Logging into the course pages
The subscriber part of the website, available to people who have enrolled in the course, will open on March 15 2024. You will then be able to access the full reading list and details about the first module. Meanwhile, if you haven’t already done so, please log in to the holding page now to make sure your login works. Click on LOG IN in the main menu. Thank you.