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Foundations of databases is a core subject in Computer Engineering and is compulsory in Multimedia Engineering.

  • Syllabus: history and files, entity- relationship model, relational model, database management systems.
  • Teaching method: theory classes divided into 2 parts of 50 minutes each; practical sessions with computers.
  • Evaluation: there are three different types of exams owing to their temporal planning, INTERMEDIATE, FINAL and SQL.
  • Marks: a minimum of 40 % of the maximum score must be obtained in each type FINAL and SQL for a final mark to be attained in the subject.
  • Passing grade: having obtained this minimum, if the marks obtained for all the parts are added up and 50% or more of the maximum possible score is attained, then the student will pass the subject.
  • Recovery: the second examination call it is considered to be a re-sit of the first exam in the case of each of the three parts previously mentioned.


Context of the subject

Foundations of databases is a core subject in Computer Engineering and is compulsory in Multimedia Engineering, which develops the concepts presented in Programming I and Mathematics I. It presents basic database techniques, which are essential for the efficient management of software, and are an advantage in many other areas owing to their power and versatility.

This is the first subject on the path to Database Design (CE) and Multimedia Database Design (ME), and in general, for all subjects related to the design and management of large amounts of information and its integration into organizational structures.






Unit 1: Organization

General objectives of the subject. Contents. Evaluation procedure, description of the activities that will take place.

Unit 2: Files and database techniques

Historical justification of the DB techniques. Main types and organizations of files, benefits and drawbacks. Frame of application and its relationship with the database companies. Legal issues regarding large volumes of data.

Unit 3: The Entity-Relationship data model

Basic concepts and functionality of the E-R model in DB techniques.

Unit 4: The relational data model

Scope of application. Mathematical fundamentals and their implementation: relationship, domain and attribute concepts.
Identification keys, foreign keys, non-null values.
Key integrity, referential integrity.
Representation of information systems, design of relational DB schemas.
Data Definition and manipulation languages: algebra and relational calculus, and SQL; relationally and computationally complete languages.
Normalization: functional dependency concept. Normal forms.

Unit 5: Database management systems

Basic concepts of DBMS: architecture, functions, components, transactions, optimization and performance, security. Distributed databases. Other data models


Structure and organization of the sessions

There are theory sessions and practical sessions.

The practical sessions last 1h 40 minutes per week and take place in a computer class in which the students teach themselves the specific aspects of the SQL language and their application to the concepts previously learned in theory sessions. The first 10 minutes, when planned, will be used to carry out an exam related to the contents of previous sessions, which will take place on the computer. These exams are part of the evaluation procedure, as explained below.

The theory sessions are divided into two parts: the first 50 minutes are used for lectures and examples; after a break of 10 minutes, the last 50 minutes will be used to develop the most practical part of the relational model theory or, depending on the aim of the session, it will be used as a supervised work session or a questions/review session.



You must look up weekly planning or the academic calendar (exams)



The final mark of the subject is obtained in one or two calls, the first in June and the second in July. The first examination call is formulated as an evaluation that is distributed throughout the semester and the second is a re-sit of the first. This re-sit could be used to improve the marks obtained for any parts of the previous examination call.

The maximum mark for the subject is 150 points. It is considered to have been passed if 50% (75 points) or more of the points are obtained. It is necessary to obtain a minimum of 40% in each of the three types of evaluations (SQL, intermediate and final). Once these minimum percentages have been obtained, the final mark is the sum of all the sub-marks.

In the SQL partial exams, all the subject material is permitted, in addition to online tutorials and similar resources. However, no material can be consulted in the theory partials and final. Accessing websites with any kind of electronic device is prohibited. This also applies to the second exam call, since the exam is taken in a normal class without computers.

Examination Calls

First (C1)

The final marks of the subjects are calculated from these three different types of exams:

exam maximum mark
amount total minimum required
(over the total)
SQL 12 (24) x3 (x1)1 60 40 % (24)
FINAL 40 x1 40 40 % (15)

total 150

pass: 50 % (75)


  • INTERMEDIATES: 2 theory exams, one mid-semester and the other in the last week, consisting mainly of a multi-choice questionnaire related to the contents of the subject. It could also include some exercises regarding any theory concept.
  • FINAL: 1 theory exam, on the official date chosen by the UA, with exercises in which the theory is applied.
  • SQL: 4 SQL exams consisting of a set of statements to be executed using the DB server. The first three exams contain 2 questions each while the fourth contains 4 questions. Twice the amount of time is of course provided for the completion of the fourth exam.

Second (C2)

As a re-sit of the previous call, we have

·         1 theoretical-practical exam (100 %) divided into 3 parts, each part of which is optional.

Owing to the fact that this is a re-sit of the previous call, the student can attend any or all of the following parts: TEST (intermediates), EXERCISES (final) or SQL, with the same percentages as in the previous call. The difference is that it is one single exam on the official date assigned by the UA. The students must decide which parts they wish to take depending on their needs.

The marks obtained in each part taken replace the previous marks obtained for that part. This means that, when taking one part, the part taken previously is no longer considered.

If time and resources allow, some extra and totally optional activities could be proposed in order to obtain extra marks. Whatever the case, they will be related to the first call only, will never be used as a mechanism to compensate a failing grade and the marks will never be stored.



  1. Exam dates will not be changed under any circumstances.  However, in the case of those exams that are performed during a week in various groups, there is the possibility of a student taking an exam in a different group, but only if the reason for doing so is justified and sufficient notice is provided.
  2. Apart from the second exam call, no exams can be re-sat in the first call. If the student does not attend one exam, this does not mean that the student cannot pass the subject, it only means that this mark will not be used for the global mark.
  3. If the subject is passed in the first call, the mark obtained cannot be improved upon in the second call. The student’s academic certificate is closed.
  4. There is no additional activity of any kind that will permit the compensation of a fail mark in any call.



The subject uses the following resources:


UA Academic calendar

UA Academic calendar 2015-16, approved by the Consejo de Gobierno February27th  2014 (BOUA  March 5th ).

Rule of permanence and continuation of studies

For University of Alicante Degree students, the conditions required to pass the degree, the minimum number of credits, compulsory number of credits needed to matriculate, exam calls, …can be found at:

  1. Regulation
  2. Procedure
  3. Summary table (pdf)