Extended Project Qualification

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is excellent preparation for University or those entering straight into a career and is optional for all students during sixth form. It is a stand-alone qualification that involves completing an independent project on a topic of the student’s own choice. It may link to a particular subject they are studying, or be a personal interest that they wish to pursue. The title is chosen by the student and they complete a Project Log throughout the project. They are supervised and taught research skills, but must carry out their research independently.

The final product is either:

  • A 5000 word written report / essay
  • A 1000 word report + an artefact e.g. a film of a performance, a piece of artwork, a piece of music, a website, evidence of an event they ran etc.

The EPQ is an AQA qualification and is graded A* – E. It is started in the Autumn term and students should need to complete it by the following Spring. In addition to handing in the work, each student must also deliver a short presentation explaining how they went about their project, what their main findings were and reflecting on the success of their project.

The EPQ is marked on four criteria:

  • Management of the project
  • Use of a variety of resources
  • Developing and realising the project
  • Reviewing the project and its outcomes.


Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do for my Extended Project?

We cannot tell you, as it has to be your own decision. You are allowed to choose any subject for your Project and titles have varied enormously.

  • Think of a subject you are interested in! You will be working on this a lot so it is important you enjoy what you are learning.
  • Check that there is enough information available on your chosen topic – if you choose something very specific there may be limited information available.
  • Don’t pick too broad a topic – too much information can be as difficult to work with as too little.
  • Some people choose a topic that links to their university course choice. This can demonstrate your interest beyond your A level studies and gives universities something to discuss with you at interview.
  • Some people choose an area they no longer pursue at A level. For example, some students have used their EPQ as an opportunity to select an art project despite not studying it at A level.
  • If you have a passion for something non-academic e.g. music videos, cheerleading, army cadets etc you may choose to work on this rather than something related to a school subject.

When do I carry out and complete the Project?

You will all begin your Project in October. We hope that most of you will finish your Project including your Presentation and Log Book by the Easter break.

Can I submit a Project I have completed at another time?

No – the Project needs to be planned, carried out and evaluated with your project supervisor. If you have completed a project e.g. for Nuffield bursary, you can use this information as a starting point but it then needs development. If you are not sure, please speak to Mr Murray. If you are involved in an extracurricular group like the Historical Research group you may be able to use this if you have chosen and undertaken the project yourself.

Can I use an essay I have completed for a subject I am taking at A level?

No – the EPQ should be on a topic not covered at A Level

Does it count for University entrance?

Some Universities may include it in their offers but many more recognise its value in preparing students for university life. Many University applicants in high demand courses including Oxbridge who will have an interview will be expected to discuss their project at interview to demonstrate their passion and research skills. It is also an increasingly used method of differentiating between students who have just missed out on their first choice course and who are applying through Clearing.


“We have compelling evidence that students who complete an EPQ settle in far better to their degree courses and as such we are keen to see more of these students.”                                   

University of Southampton