George Mason University

Department of Computer Science

CS 450: Database Concepts

Fall 2013

Prof. Ami Motro


This upper-level undergraduate course is an introductory course in the area of databases, with a focus on database models and languages. Topics to be covered include: database design with the Entity-Relationship model, the relational data model and its algebra, SQL and database programming, the theory of relational database design; additional topics will be covered as time permits.

Course Outcomes
  1. Knowledge of fundamental concepts of file and database management.
  2. Knowledge of database design principles, and ability to model real-world environments using the ER model.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Knowledge of the basic principles of the mathematical theory of database design, and ability to design databases that adhere to Boyce-Codd Normal Form.
  6. Experience in the complete database creative process: from database design, to database constuction, to database programming.
Time and Place

Tuesday and Thursday, 12:00-1:15


Dr. Ami Motro
Office: Eng-4415
Telephone: 703-993-1665
Office hours: Wednesday and Thursday 3:00-4:00

Teaching Assistant

Office: TBA
Email: TBA
Office hours: TBA


Grade of C or better in CS 310 (Data Structures) and CS 330 (Formal Methods and Models).
Specifically, good background in

  1. Discrete mathematics (e.g., set theory and mathematical logic)
  2. Programming (good knowledge of C or Java)
  3. Data structures and algorithms
  4. Computer architecture and operating systems
Note: prerequisites are strictly enforced!


Two exams and about eight homework assignments and projects, most involving computer work (approximate weights are indicated in parenthesis):

  1. Homework assignments (30%)
  2. Midterm exam (30%)
  3. Final exam (40%)

The first book is required, the second is recommended.

  1. Database Systems: An Application-Oriented Approach, Introductory Version, 2/E, 2005
    by Lewis, Kifer & Bernstein
  2. Oracle 10g Programming: A Primer
    by Sunderraman, Addison-Wesley, 2008.