George Mason University
  Department of Computer Science

CS 450 - Database Concepts

Dr. Jessica Lin

Spring 2012



Course Description

This course covers basics to intermediate knowledge for the design, implementation, and use of relational database systems. The main topics include the relational data model, Entity-Relationship (ER) model for database design, Relational Algebra, SQL, database programming, functional dependencies and normalization, and indexing.


Dr. Jessica Lin 

Office: Engineering Building 4419
Phone: 703-993-4693
Email: jessica [AT] cs [DOT] gmu [DOT] edu
Office Hours:  Wed/Thurs  2-3pm




Enterprise Hall 276

Course Outcomes

  • Knowledge of fundamental concepts of file and database management.
  • Knowledge of database design principles, and ability to model real-world environments using the ER model.
  • Knowledge of the formal principles of the relational database model and its query languages, and ability to design relational databases and express queries in the relational algebra and calculus.
  • Knowledge of the Structured Query Language (SQL) and database programming principles, and ability to author SQL queries and implement Java database applications using the Oracle database system.
  • Knowledge of the basic principles of the mathematical theory of database design, and ability to design databases that adhere to Boyce-Codd Normal Form.
  • Experience in the complete database creative process: from database design, to database constuction, to database programming.


C or better in CS 310 (Data Structures) and CS 330 (Formal Methods and Models)


Assignments: 20%
Project: 20%

Midterm: 25%
Final: 35%

 Quizzes/In-class exercises (extra credit): up to 3%


You may earn up to 3% extra credit on quizzes, which will be given in the beginning of the class. They may or may not be announced in advance. There will be a midterm exam and a final exam covering lectures and readings (both will be in class, closed book). The final exam (comprehensive) includes topics covered in the entire semester. Exams must be taken at the scheduled time and place. Missed exams cannot be made up.

Honor Code Statement

Please be familiar with the GMU Honor Code. Any deviation from this is considered an Honor Code violation. All assignments for this class are individual unless otherwise specified.


  Required: "Database Management Systems" 3rd Edition, by Ramakrishnan and Gehrke

Recommended: Oracle 10g Programming: A Primer by Sunderraman, Addison-Wesley, 2008

Ch.1: Overview of Database Systems
Ch.2: Introduction to Database Design
Ch.3: The Relational Model
Ch.4: Relational Algebra
Ch.5: SQL
Ch.6: Database Application Development
Ch.10: Tree-Structured Indexing
Ch.11: Hash-Based Indexing
Ch.19: Schema Refinement and Normal Forms

Note: If time permits, more chapters will be added.

Course Website