EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) Level 3

Contact Teacher: Ms K Hobbs, EPQ Coordinator

Exam Board: AQA

Why undertake the Extended Project?

“The EPQ is excellent for developing students’ independent study skills; it gives academic confidence and provides a head start for university. This is a great opportunity for a student to choose a topic that they’re curious or passionate about, and to improve their knowledge, without being restricted to their A-level specifications. The EPQ can help students stand out when writing their UCAS personal statement or when applying for jobs”
Mrs H Williams (EPQ Coordinator)

Carrying out an Extended Project (EPQ) will be enjoyable and challenging, and should give you significant benefits:

  • It will help develop organisational, project management and independent learning skills, which can be used in A-level studies and beyond.
  • It provides a set of skills which can be taken to higher education and applied in future employment.
  • If you are making an application to higher education, working towards the EPQ will make you stand out from other students and provide a substantial topic to discuss at interview.
  • Studying an area in depth, might help you decide on future employment or education routes.
  • By completing the EPQ, you gain UCAS points worth half an A-level and a qualification recognised by universities and employers; some universities, such as Southampton University, make alternative offers to students undertaking an EPQ.

Course Details

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a single piece of work of a student’s choosing that requires evidence of planning, preparation, research and autonomous working. The outcome could be a 5,000 word dissertation or something practical that addresses a research question.

Some of the ideas for the EPQ have sprung from A-level topics, others have given students the opportunity to research a new area beyond their A-level specifications. This is a truly exciting course which gives you complete autonomy over your work, from the topic area, title and direction of the project to the finished product.

How the course is taught and assessed

There is a lecture-style session once a fortnight. We have an exciting programme that includes masterclasses from The University of Southampton and The University of Leeds. The students will visit the University of Chichester's library to get a taste of university-style research as well as the opportunity to use the Hartley Library at The University of Southampton.

In addition there are four periods per fortnight on the student's timetable, which include a session following up the previous lecture’s theme and time for both independent work and individual one to one support. The course begins with a grounding in research and critical thinking skills, and you will be supported in choosing a topic. You will write a research proposal, and then focus on writing your dissertation. You will present your ‘work in progress’ at points throughout the year and teachers will give individual support in class and online.

Final projects are graded A* to E and you can choose a topic related to one of your A-level courses or a completely different area of interest, written or practical.

You will be supported by a teacher throughout your project, the outcome of which could be:

  • an extended piece of writing (5000 words)
  • a musical or theatrical performance (+ 1000 words)
  • a sculpture or other artefact (+ 1000 words)
  • a multi-media item, e.g. a short film (+ 1000 words)
  • a report on an investigation or experiment (+ 1000 words)

You also need to complete a Project Proposal Form and a log of the research process for assessment. You are expected to present your research and final product to your peers and answer their questions. There is no written examination for this qualification and final assessment is completed at the end of June in Year 12, leaving you time to focus on your other subjects.

Entry requirements

The EPQ is open to all students in Year 12 who are not undertaking Core Maths, a fourth A-level or GCSE retakes.

“Completing an EPQ prepares students perfectly for the rigours of the research-led education they can expect at many universities. The experience provides them with the essential skills for independent academic research, writing, presentation and referencing. The process of completing a research log is especially important as it is the reflection they undertake that fully develops these skills. We have an increasingly compelling evidence base that shows students who excel in the EPQ settle in well to undergraduate study. Our desire to see more students like this in our lecture theatres and seminar rooms is reflected in many university admissions policies which now see a number of courses making alternative grade offers on the basis of achieving an A or A* in the EPQ” Dr Emma Thompson University of Southampton