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Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

What is an EPQ?

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is an independent research project, which equates to an AS qualification attracting slightly higher UCAS tariff points than a traditional AS-level.  Students research a topic of their choice and then write an essay of 5000 words, or create a product, which might be anything from an art object to an iPhone app. As the project evolves, students complete a production log to record specific stages of the project, and this also contributes to the final mark. The third component of the project is an oral presentation to a non-specialist group.  

Students receive teaching and guidance with a range of skills from time management to presentation skills. Students meet regularly with a teacher who will be their EPQ supervisor and who will provide academic support.  

Mission Statement: EPQ provides students with the opportunity to research a topic of their choice that takes them beyond the specification of their other A-level subjects; it opens the door to higher levels of academic skill and allows them to develop a love of independent learning and a respect for academic research; finally, the range of skills and personal qualities they develop will allow them to flourish as socially aware young people.

Curriculum Map

Curriculum Intent

Subject: EPQ

Key Stage 5 only

As part of the whole


EPQ builds on logical reasoning and problem-solving students have learned in GCSE Maths; it builds on critical textual analysis and fluent written expression students have developed in GCSE English; it also builds on scientific research skills practised during GSCE Science. 

Academic – Curriculum Aims

The AQA specification offers students the opportunity to develop skills valued by Higher Education (HE) and employers, including critical analysis, independent thinking and project management.



The teacher respects, supports and promotes the gospel values of St Mary’s. Students are encouraged to reflect on their personal spiritual journey as part of their project.



The teacher models strong moral integrity that has its grounding in the Christian values of the St Mary’s.  Students are taught the ethical guidelines for primary research and these together with a moral foundation of honesty form the cornerstone of independent research, specifically referencing of sources.



The opportunity for exploration of cultural diversity presents itself as students choose their own research topic.  As part of the reflection and review assessment objective, students are also encouraged to consider how their personal cultural context has contributed to the project.



Students are encouraged to respect themselves and other students and staff. The teacher models this respect. Part of this is to value and respond to teacher feedback; to be a reflective learner, to look for opportunities to contribute thoughtfully to lessons and to feel safe in the learning environment to take learning risks like answering a question or asking one.

What is the benefit of completing an EPQ?

The Extended Project Qualification teaches you some key high-level skills that individual A-level courses do not have time to include, and many students say it adds considerable interest to their sixth-form programme. 

Furthermore, there are several major benefits to completing an EPQ when it comes to applying to university. At its simplest, EPQ helps you with UCAS points - EPQ is valued at 50% of a full A level in the UCAS tariff. EPQ provides very clear evidence of that you have interests and ability, which go beyond the A-Level curriculum. It demonstrates clearly that you can undertake the kind of independent reading, research, and essay writing that is the mainstay of most undergraduate degrees. 

The EPQ requires:

  • A great interest in the research topic: interest and curiosity in a subject are the fuel of motivation to keep you going deeper to answer a research question.
  • Organisational skills: planning the project over a 20-week period and making sure that each stage is completed in time is essential to creating a high-quality end-product and attracting the highest assessment marks in the process.
  • Good time-management skills because it is not part of the normal school curriculum. Making sure you spend enough time on the project each week, while juggling the demands of your A-Levels, is key to a successful project. 

Assessment: Your project will be marked by your EPQ supervisor. They will apply the Assessment objectives provided by the AQA exam board in the EPQ specification. 

  • AO1 is worth 20% of the overall mark
  • Manage: Identify, design, plan, and carry out a project, applying a range of skills, strategies and methods to achieve objectives.
  • AO2 is worth 20% of the overall mark.
  • Use Resources: Research, critically select, organise and use information, and select and use a range of resources. Analyse data apply relevantly and demonstrate understanding of any links, connections and complexities of the topic.
  • AO3 is worth 40% of the overall mark.
  • Develop and Realise: Select and use a range of skills, including, where appropriate, new technologies and problem-solving, to take decisions critically and achieve planned outcomes.
  • AO4 is worth 20% of the overall mark.
  • Review: Evaluate all aspects of the extended project, including outcomes in relation to stated objectives and own learning and performance. Select and use a range of communication skills and media to present evidenced project outcomes and conclusions in an appropriate format.


EPQ is not only an academic journey but very much a personal one as well, where you learn about things you are genuinely interested in and find independent ways of working that suit you the best.

- Summer, Year 13

  • Please contact our EPQ Coordinator for further information via