MSc Occupational Hygiene / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Business, Media & Health

Course unit fact file
Unit code POPH65092
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


Business and the media are having an increasingly apparent impact on the health of populations worldwide, positively and negatively. Issues such as trade, regulation and legislation vary globally and historically, and this course unit will explore how it can affect the health of populations in an internationalised world. The course also explores the role the media can and does play in conveying health messages to the general public, and how the rise in social media use has led to new problems such as the infodemic, but also potential opportunities.

Students will be assessed through their contribution to an open access resource on business, media and health. Students will conduct an individual piece of work over the full semester supported by their peers and will receive regular formative feedback from the course unit coordinators. Students will apply their knowledge and skills to generate a high quality output of benefit beyond the course unit.  


Introduce the relationship between business media and health and how their interaction impacts on the health of populations. 

Provide students with the opportunity to apply their learning to real world scenarios and contribute their findings to an open online resource.

Learning outcomes

Category of outcome Students should be able to:
Knowledge and understanding

A1 Discuss the impact that both business and media can play on health, including attitudes, behaviours and practices amongst the general population

A2 Present an argument for the role media can play in health (mis)information in facilitation and mitigation of the infodemic

Intellectual skills

B1 Critically appraise the evidence base surrounding the political and economic environment’s effect on business and its impact on health

B2 Compare and contrast different systems and the role business and media plays in influencing different population’s health outcomes

Practical skills C1 Develop globally relevant resources for enhancing the evidence base for how business, media and health interact
Transferable skills and personal qualities D1 Apply the learning from the course to specific populations, problems and contexts



The unit will cover the following major themes, exemplified with contemporary case studies to keep the unit up to date, and with flexibility to incorporate any developing trends: 

  • The relationship between business, media and health, incorporating historical trends up to the present day focussing on technology, big-business and social media 
  • Legislation and Regulation – the industry influence on health policy covering issues such as taxes on unhealthy food and drink, regulation of alcohol and tobacco and the way that industry has challenged and adapted such measures 
  • Health as a business – to include investment in technology for health, the role of pharmaceutical companies, the commodification of healthcare, and how businesses can promote health for their consumers and workforce
  • Trade, internationalisation and health – international agreements around IP and licencing and the impact on global public health, free and fair trade, access and competition for healthy and unhealthy goods 
  • Framing of health issues – health reporting and representation of health issues in the media, production and circulation of health news, the media’s role in raising awareness of health issues and the risk of stigmatisation or discrimination 
  • The media and health promotion – theory and methods of mass media campaigns (to include social media), media advocacy, health and media literacy, inclusion of diverse population groups  
  • The infodemic – the spread of misinformation and the impact on public health, and the role of both business and media in facilitating and mitigating this 
  • Social media and health – the role social media plays in health communication and the positive and negative (public) health impacts of the increase in social media usage 

Teaching and learning methods

This is an online learning course accessed through the University’s online learning platform. There will be written materials by the tutors guiding students through the course, illustrated with photographs and figures to illustrate the rich topic areas. Content will be presented through peer reviewed journals (accessible through The University Library), media (newspaper and TV channels available online) and short videos (i.e. course tutors). Students will be directed to a variety of relevant literature each week, but also encouraged to research, explore and find their own sources. The course will also include scheduled live webinars and online discussion groups.

The course includes a continuous student project that forms the overall assessment and contributes to a publicly available open access Business, Media and Health resource. The project will be developed and assessed on an individual level and student support groups will be organised encouraging peer support. The course unit co-leads will provide guidance to students throughout the course, including comprehensive and frequent feedback on their work. The students’ work will be peer-reviewed at key points during the course and students will have the opportunity to revisit and improve on their work before final submission and assessment.

Knowledge and understanding


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Students will be provided with personalised feedback for their final summative assignment (2,500-3,000 words) within 20 working days.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
John Owen Unit coordinator
Gregory Williams Unit coordinator

Additional notes

If you have any questions about the content of this unit, please contact one of the course unit leaders, Greg Williams ( or John Owen ( If you have any other queries, please contact the PGT programme administrators via email on

Return to course details