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During 2021 we will continue to support students who need to study remotely due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and travel restrictions. Make sure you check the location code when selecting a unit outline or choosing your units of study in Sydney Student. Find out more about what these codes mean. Both remote and on-campus locations have the same learning activities and assessments, however teaching staff may vary. More information about face-to-face teaching and assessment arrangements for each unit will be provided on Canvas.

Unit of study_

COMP9120: Database Management Systems

This unit of study provides a conceptual and practical introduction to the use of common platforms that manage large relational databases. Students will understand the foundations of database management and enhance their theoretical and practical knowledge of the widespread relational database systems, as these are used for both operational (OLTP) and decision-support (OLAP) purposes. The unit covers the main aspects of SQL, the industry-standard database query language. Students will further develop the ability to create robust relational database designs by studying conceptual modelling, relational design and normalization theory. This unit also covers aspects of relational database management systems which are important for database administration. Topics covered include storage structures, indexing and its impact on query plans, transaction management and data warehousing. In this unit students will develop the ability to: Understand the foundations of database management; Strengthen their theoretical knowledge of database systems in general and relational data model and systems in particular; Create robust relational database designs; Understand the theory and applications of relational query processing and optimisation; Study the critical issues in data and database administration; Explore the key emerging topics in database management.


Academic unit Computer Science
Unit code COMP9120
Unit name Database Management Systems
Session, year
Semester 1, 2020
Attendance mode Normal evening
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

INFO2120 OR INFO2820 OR INFO2005 OR INFO2905 OR COMP5138 OR ISYS2120. Students who have previously studied an introductory database subject as part of their undergraduate degree should not enrol in this foundational unit, as it covers the same foundational content.
Assumed knowledge

Some exposure to programming and some familiarity with data model concepts

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Mohammad Masbaul Alam Polash,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam Final exam
50% Formal exam period 1 hour
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Online task Exercises
10% Multiple weeks n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment group assignment Conceptual design assignment
10% Week 06 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3
Assignment group assignment DB design assignment
15% Week 09 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment group assignment DB application development assignment
15% Week 12 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
group assignment = group assignment ?
  • Assignment: There will be three assignments in total, due in Week 6, 9, and 12 respectively.
  • Quiz: There will be quizzes during tutorial times in multiple weeks, on canvas. 

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Late penalty for any assessment is 20% per day: e.g. if your work would have scored 60% and is 1 hour late then you get 40%, if your work would have scored 70% and is 28 hours late then you get 30%.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 02 Conceptual database design Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 03 Relational data model and logical database design Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 04 Relational algebra and SQL Online class (3 hr)  
Week 05 Complex SQL Online class (3 hr)  
Week 06 Database integrity Online class (3 hr)  
Week 07 Introduction to database application development Online class (3 hr)  
Week 08 Transaction management Online class (3 hr)  
Week 09 Schema refinement and normalisation Online class (3 hr)  
Week 10 Storage and indexing Online class (3 hr)  
Week 11 Query evaluation Online class (3 hr)  
Week 12 Query optimisation Online class (3 hr)  
Week 13 Review Online class (3 hr)  

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Prescribed readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas.

  • Database Management Systems

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate a basic understanding of the design of database solutions to data management problems
  • LO2. understand the transaction concept and its role in transaction processing systems
  • LO3. demonstrate competence in the use of SQL
  • LO4. index databases and query optimisation.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
No changes have been made since this unit was last offered


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