module specification

CC7167 - Database Systems with Professional Certification (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Database Systems with Professional Certification
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 200
48 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
152 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   1200 word report on database design process + a combination of 20 ER components and queries
Unseen Examination 50%   2-hour unseen exam
Running in 2017/18 No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module focuses on relational databases and deals mainly with design methodology, conceptual design, logical design, design verification, design revision and implementation.

Prior learning requirements

Basic knowledge of SQL

Module aims

The main aim of this module is to develop an understanding of how to design a database platform for Information Systems development. This includes the application of appropriate data modelling and data analysis techniques. Implementation aspects will be geared towards supporting professional database certification.

The aims of this module are to:

  • provide students with an understanding of fundamental database design concepts, techniques and processes for database development.
  • appreciate the purpose and breadth of areas of database systems
  • develop students with practical skills in applying design techniques to database development
  • support practical preparation for database certification.


  • Design Methodology.  Design prerequisites, including data administration and data dictionaries. Design focus, including development life cycle and disciplines, information structure, integrity classes. Design process, including phases of database design and database design problems.
  • Conceptual Design.  The EER model and ER diagrams. Abstraction mechanisms in database design: synonyms and homonyms, aggregation, generalisation and specialisation. Generalisation hierarchies and inheritance. Guidelines for conceptual design. Alternative approaches to modelling.
  • Logical Design.  The relational model and data structure. Relational issues relating to null values, operators, integrity rules, and views. Conceptual schema specification enforcing domain, referential and database-specific integrity constraints. Guidelines for EER to relational mapping: entities (regular, weak, subtype), relationships (unary, binary, ternary), attributes (single/multivalued, optional/mandatory).
  • Design Verification.  Normalisation to remove redundancy and update anomalies, and to ensure non-loss decomposition. Functional dependency theory and formal definitions. 3NF and Boyce-Codd normal form. Advanced normal forms for multivalued and join dependency.
  • Design Revision.  Composite and surrogate keys. Row-wise and vector-wise data. Column overloading. Over-normalisation and denormalisation. Physical design guidelines. Query optimisation.
  • Implementation. Relational database development. Database programming preparation leading to Professional Certification.

Learning and teaching

The module will be delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials and workshops:

  • Lectures are used to present a framework for understanding the topics covered and provide an introduction to tools that will be used in the workshops.
  • Tutorials are used to encourage students to collaborate on classroom-based database design activities.
  • Workshops are used to provide access to relational database development tools and to provide supervised practice in them.

Use will be made of the University’s VLE and online tools to provide content, assessment and feedback, and promote student engagement.

Feedback opportunities will be available during workshop sessions throughout the semester and also on draft attempts of coursework.

Learning outcomes

LO1 develop an EER model of user requirements;
LO2 map an EER model to a database implementation model;
LO3 verify and evaluate typical examples of the implementation;
LO4 revise a design in light of implementation and performance considerations.

Assessment strategy

The assessment for this module is based on coursework and examination as follows:

Coursework (50%): a submission (in the form of a report) containing the artefacts of a practical analysis, design and implementation project, based on a case study. The coursework assessment is predominantly linked to LO1, LO2, and LO4.

Examination (50%): a 2-hour unseen written examination covering a range of topics related to the syllabus. The examination consists of both short-answer and long-answer questions. Past papers are made available to students and module leader  provides guidance on exam technique. The examination assessment is predominantly linked to LO1, LO2 and LO3.


Elmasri, R. & Navathe, S. Fundamentals of Database Systems (6th ed.) Addison-Wesley, 2011.

Connolly, T. & Begg, C. Database Systems - A Practical Approach to Design, Implementation and Management (5th ed.), Addison-Wesley, 2010.

Watson, J., Ramklass, R., OCA Oracle Database 11g SQL Fundamentals 1 Exam Guide: Exam 1Z0-05.

Morris, M., Study Guide for 1Z0-051: Oracle Database 11g: SQL Fundamentals 1: Oracle Certification Prep.