Database Theory and Design

Module description

This module will give you an insight into the theoretical and technical issues underlying current and future database management systems. You will acquire practical and theoretical competence in database modelling and design, as well as gaining familiarity with modern state-of-the-art database technology.


Prerequisite module: ECM1408, ECM1409, ECM1413 or equivalent.

Full module specification

Module title:Database Theory and Design
Module code:ECM2419
Module level:2
Academic year:2014/5
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Alberto Moraglio - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:



Prerequisite module: ECM1408, ECM1409, ECM1413 or equivalent.

Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:


Module aims

The intention of the module is to equip you with the theoretical and practical knowledge needed to design, develop and manage database systems using modern database management systems. You will get hands-on experience on a selected database management system that is currently in commercial use. By the end of the module you will be competent with the methods for designing, developing and managing database systems and their associated forms-based applications.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. outline the ACID properties of database systems;
  • 2. develop and interpret database schemas and queries expressed in SQL-92;
  • 3. develop conceptual designs and transform them into SQL-92 schemas;
  • 4. demonstrate an understanding of relational theory and its use in database design;
  • 5. demonstrate an understanding of the transaction concept and its use in integrity and recovery;
  • 6. express queries in a declarative language.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 7. interpret an informal requirement specification;
  • 8. express designs at different levels of abstraction and map between them;
  • 9. design with a data-centric view;
  • 10. systematically analyse information and make appropriate design choices;
  • 11. develop appropriate data for testing a set-orientated model.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 12. use on-line resources to develop advanced computer languate skills;
  • 13. write a technical report incorporating the design, implementation and testing of a database system.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities20Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching activities10Workshops
Scheduled learning and teaching activities20Individual assessed work
Guided independent study100Guided independent study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Conceptual level design10 hours, open book3,7,8,9,10Written and oral
Relational algebra worksheet6 hours, open book4Written and oral
SQL coding6 hours, open book2,3,4,6,11,12Written and oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Coursework (analysis and design)2018 hours3,4,7,8,9,10,13Written and oral
Coursework (implementation )106 hours2,3,4,6,7,11,12,13Written and oral
Written exam7018 hours1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11 Written and oral

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Exam, courseworkWritten examAllAugust

Re-assessment notes

Referred students will be re-assessed for a maximum of 40%. For students deferred in the exam only, the uncapped exam mark will be combined with marks from coursework according to the stated percentage weightings. For students deferred in the whole module, the uncapped exam mark will be used.

Syllabus plan

- the relational model and its expression in SQL-92;
- information modelling and mapping to SQL;
- database design theory;
- transactions and their use in integrity and recovery management;
- physical database implementation;
- dynamic modelling and user interaction via forms.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading






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