Module Catalogue 2018/19

CSC2513 : Database Systems

  • Offered for Year: 2018/19
  • Module Leader(s): Dr John Colquhoun
  • Owning School: Computing
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



To introduce the fundamentals of database system design and use.

The module introduces the fundamentals of database systems. You will understand and be able to apply the relational data model and be proficient in manipulating database systems. Among the topics covered are: Principles of data models and multi-level architectures; relational data model; user requirements; database conceptual design; SQL standard; database logical and physical design; database procedures; database management.

Outline Of Syllabus

Information Management – database systems
- Motivation for database systems
- Components of database systems
- DBMS functions
- Database architecture and data independence
- Use of a declarative query language
- Query processing and optimization
Information Management – data modeling
- Data modeling
- Conceptual models (such as entity-relationship)
- Relational data model
Information Management – indexing
- The massive impact of indexes on query performance
- The basic structure of an index;
- Keeping a buffer of data in memory;
- Creating indexes with SQL;
Information Management – relational databases
- Mapping conceptual schema to a relational schema
- Entity and referential integrity
- Relational algebra
Information Management – query languages
- Overview of database languages
- SQL (data definition, query formulation, update sublanguage, constraints, integrity)
- Embedding non-procedural queries in a procedural language
- Stored procedures
Information Management – relational database design
- Database design
- Functional dependency
- Decomposition of a schema; lossless-join and dependency-preservation properties of a decomposition
- Candidate keys, superkeys, and closure of a set of attributes
- Normal forms (1NF, 2NF, 3NF, BCNF)
- Transaction management in database systems

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

On completion of the module students will have:
Appreciation of the role of database systems in modern computing science
Knowledge and understanding of top-down and bottom-up approaches to database design
Knowledge and understanding of models, processes and techniques used in database design
Awareness of social, legal and ethical issues in database design

Intended Skill Outcomes

On completion of the module students will have:
Ability to construct and critique entity-relationship and relational models
Ability to apply normalisation techniques
Ability to use SQL for data definition and manipulation
Ability to use standard SQL implementations (mySQL)

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Present
    • Data Synthesis : Present
    • Active Learning : Present
    • Numeracy : Present
    • Literacy : Present
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Present
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Present
      • Use Of Computer Applications : Assessed
  • Self Management
    • Self Awareness And Reflection : Present
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Present
      • Decision Making : Assessed
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Innovation And Creativity : Present
      • Initiative : Present
      • Independence : Present
      • Problem Solving : Assessed
      • Adaptability : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Present
      • Interpersonal : Present
  • Application
    • Occupational Awareness : Present
    • Commercial Acumen
      • Governance Awareness : Present
      • Business Planning : Present
    • Social Cultural Global Awareness : Present
    • Legal Awareness : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture441:0044:00Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion480:3024:00Revision for end of semester exam & exam duration.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion441:0044:00Lecture follow-up
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical111:0011:00Practicals
Guided Independent StudyProject work111:0011:00Coursework
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study332:0066:00Background reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will be used to introduce the learning material and for demonstrating the key concepts by example. Students are expected to follow-up lectures within a few days by re-reading and annotating lecture notes to aid deep learning.

This is a very practical subject, and it is important that the learning materials are supported by hands-on opportunities provided by practical classes. Students are expected to spend time on coursework outside timetabled practical classes.

Students aiming for 1st class marks are expected to widen their knowledge beyond the content of lecture notes through background reading.

Students should set aside sufficient time to revise for the end of semester exam.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A70N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study2M30Extended coursework - application case study. 2000 words max.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

In the written examination the questions will assess fundamental knowledge and understanding of theory and application of database design and usage.
The coursework exercise develops knowledge and competence with the various modelling techniques and other skills acquired during the course.

N.B. This module has both “Exam Assessment” and “Other Assessment” (e.g. coursework). If the total mark for either assessment falls below 35%, the maximum mark returned for the module will normally be 35%.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes

Original Handbook text:

Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2018/19 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2018/19 entry will be published here in early-April 2018. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.