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Academic Handbook Postgraduate Programmes

Database Management Systems Course Descriptor

Course code LCSCI7228 Discipline Computer Science
UK Credit 15 US Credit N/A
FHEQ level 7 Date approved June 2023
Core attributes N/A
Pre-requisites None
Co-requisites None


Course Summary

This course prepares students to be sophisticated users of relational and non-relational database management systems. The course gives a critical understanding of: (i) how information is logically organised in a database (i.e. the relational model) as well as how information is physically organised on storage media (e.g. computer disks); (iii) logical operations on the data (i.e. relational algebra) and how they can be combined to create well-formed queries over the data; and (iv) how database systems ensure atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability of user transactions when multiple users query or modify data concurrently. There is a particular focus on sustainable development. Finally, the course’s group assignment provides students with practical experience on building database applications.

Course Aims

The aims of the course are:

  • Develop a critical understanding of the design and implementation of database systems and their usage in real-world applications.
  • Gain hands-on experience by developing a complete database application from the ground up, applying conceptual knowledge to solve a practical problem.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding

K1d Master practical tools, methods and techniques required to build a database application.
K2d Understand advanced aspects of database design theory, query language, and performance/tuning issues of databases.
K3d Evaluate relational database management systems as a class of software systems, and their technical, social and management dimensions when deployed in multi-user environments.
K4d Critically review and analyse key developments in a particular problem area, identify limitations, and propose directions for further database innovation.

Subject Specific Skills

S1d Critically assess a data problem, recognise the individual tools, libraries and techniques suitable for solving that problem and integrate them to produce a database application.
S2d Critically evaluate the requirements and limitations of tools in various stages of the database design life cycle.
S3d Design and develop original software for a database application that solves a practical data problem.
S4d Become a sophisticated user of database management systems and develop software that integrates available database systems using best industry practices and standards.

Transferable and Professional Skills

T1d Lead and/or participate in team projects: envision a technically sound solution to a computing problem, share it with peers, encourage them to participate, and deliver it in a timely manner according to specification.
T2d Consistently display an excellent level of technical proficiency in written English and command of scholarly terminology, so as to be able to deal with complex issues in a sophisticated and systematic way.
T2d Learn effectively and independently new topics and tools related to database management.
T3d Communicate effectively the design and implementation choices of a database application through oral presentations, written reports and software demonstrations

Teaching and Learning

This course has a dedicated Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) page with a syllabus and range of additional resources (e.g. readings, question prompts, tasks, assignment briefs, discussion boards) to orientate and engage you in your studies.

The scheduled teaching and learning activities for this course are:

Lectures/Labs: Contact hours are typically a mix of weekly lectures and lab sessions, totalling up to 50 scheduled hours:

  • Version 1: All sessions in the same sized group, or
  • Version 2: most of the sessions in larger groups; some of the sessions in smaller groups

Faculty hold regular ‘office hours’, which are opportunities for students to drop in or sign up to explore ideas, raise questions, or seek targeted guidance or feedback, individually or in small groups.

Students are to attend and participate in all the scheduled teaching and learning activities for this course and to manage their directed learning and independent study.

Indicative total learning hours for this course: 150

Employability Skills

  • Communication skills 
  • Programming skills
  • Team-based project skills



Students will be formatively assessed during the course by means of set assignments. These do not count towards the end of year results but will provide students with developmental feedback. Set assignments will also amplify problem-solving skills useful for the set exercises and develop software components that form part of the students’ projects.


Assessment will be in two forms:

AE: Assessment Activity Weighting (%) Online submission Duration Length
1 Project (group-based) 40 Yes N/A Code and 2,000-word documentation
2 Written examination 60 N/A 2 hours N/A

The examination will consist of a number of questions from which the student will have the choice of answering a specified number. The project and the examination will be assessed in accordance with the assessment aims set out in the Programme Specification.


Students will receive formal feedback in a variety of ways: written (including via email correspondence); oral (within one-to-one tutorials or on an ad hoc basis) and indirectly through discussion during group tutorials.

Feedback on examinations is provided through generic internal examiners’ reports and are made available to the student on the VLE. For all other summative assessment methods, feedback is made available to the student either via email, the VLE or another appropriate method.

Indicative Reading

Note: Comprehensive and current reading lists for courses are produced annually in the Course Syllabus or other documentation provided to students; the indicative reading list provided below is used as part of the approval/modification process only.


  • Ramez Elmasri and Shamkant Navathe. 2016. Fundamentals of Database Systems, 7th edition (7th. ed.). Pearson Publications, USA


  • E. F. Codd. 1970. A relational model of data for large shared data banks. Commun. ACM 13, 6 (June 1970), 377–387. DOI:
  • Donald D. Chamberlin and Raymond F. Boyce. 1974. SEQUEL: A structured English query language. In Proceedings of the 1974 ACM SIGFIDET (now SIGMOD) workshop on Data description, access and control (SIGFIDET ’74). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 249–264. DOI:
  • Christof Strauch. NoSQL Databases (e-book)

Indicative Topics

Students will study the following topics: 

  • Conceptual understanding of database usage and design
  • Relational data model and relational algebra
  • ER diagrams and normalisation
  • SQL
  • Indexing
  • Transactions
  • Code implementation
  • User interface skills
  • Collaborative design skills
  • non-relational databases
Title: LCSCI7228 Database Management Systems Course Descriptor

Approved by: Academic Board

Location: Academic Handbook/Programme specifications and Handbooks/ Postgraduate Programme Specifications

Version number Date approved Date published Owner Proposed next review date Modification (As per AQF4) & category number
1.0 June 2023 June 2023 Dr Alexandros Koliousis April 2028  
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