CSCU9Q5 - Database Principles and Applications


20 credits at SCQF level 10, Undergraduate Course



Learning Outcomes

  • A practical and theoretical knowledge of Database Management Systems, using MySQL as an example
  • Familiarity with MySQL and interfacing to it with PHP
  • An understanding of the crucial role of databases for information systems
  • An understanding of the commercial implications of good database design
  • Ability to design and implement a practical database
  • An understanding of the general principles of database management
  • Awareness of the different interface styles that are available for modern DBMSs
  • The ability to apply theory and techniques to previously unseen problems without reference to notes, and to work independently and under a time constraint.

Transferable skills: Ability to see how data management skills can be applied in any context, and to see how data of any type can be given regular structure.


  • The rationale of Database Management Systems (DBMS) and their role within organisations
  • The ANSI-SPARC three-level model of DBMSs
  • The relational data model, and the operators of relational algebra
  • EAR modelling and normalisation
  • Implementing decompositions and loading databases
  • SQL
  • PHP and WWW interfacing
  • Back-up and concurrency
  • Distribution of database components
  • Administration and management of DBMSs: professional and legal issues including Data Protection
  • Commercial considerations of database design and use


One assignment worth 40%, examination 60%.


In order to obtain a pass grade for the unit you must:

  • Submit all items of assessed coursework
  • Attend the examination.

Non-submission of the assessed coursework will result in the award of No Grade for the module as a whole. Assessed coursework submitted late will be accepted up to five days after the submission date (or expiry of any agreed extension) but the grade will be lowered by one grade point per day or part thereof. After five days the piece of work will be deemed a non-submission, and will result in the award of No Grade for the module as a whole. This rule (regarding coursework) may be relaxed for students who can show good cause for failure to submit. Good cause may include illness (for which a medical certificate or other evidence will be required).

If a student is unable to attend the Main examination, he/she must apply to the Student Programmes Office for a Deferred examination. If a Deferred examination is not granted, then the Examiners may allow a Repeat examination.

Students who obtain a grade 4A, 4B or 4C for the module following the main examination will be eligible for a Repeat examination. The grade awarded following a Repeat examination is capped at 3C.


You are expected to attend all lectures, tutorials, and practical classes, in order to derive the maximum benefit from your time at University. It is your responsibility to make the most of the opportunities for education offered to you by the University.


Plagiarism means presenting the work of others as though it were your own. The University takes a very serious view of plagiarism, and the penalties can be severe (ranging from a reduced grade in the assessment, through a fail grade for the module, to expulsion from the University for more serious, or repeated, offences). See the University guidelines on this at


You will receive a copy of the Computing Science student handbook. You should read this carefully, particularly the sections on assessment and plagiarism. There is also useful information in there about course structure, which will help you plan your future module choices in Computing. The handbook is also available online at


  • Learning PHP and MySQL by Michele E. Davis and Jon A. Phillips, O'Reilly is the main book for the course. You will find copies in the library.
  • Colin Ritchie, Relational Database Principles: 2nd Edition, Continuum, 2002. ISBN: 0-8264-5713-4. A good introduction, covering the major themes of the unit. Recommended for purchase but not essential.
  • Thomas Connolly & Carolyn Begg, Database Systems: 4th Edition, Addison-Wesley, 2005. ISBN 0-321-29401-7. Expensive, but very complete and authoritative. Excellent for further reading.


There will be two hour practicals most weeks. Times and locations will be posted on the course web site.


There will be one assignment worth 40% of the total course mark.

Further information and teaching materials for this module.

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