What is an EPQ?

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a standalone qualification designed to extend and develop your skills in independent research and project management.

Is it recognised by universities or employers?

The EPQ is awarded UCAS points worth half an A-level and is recognised by universities and employers; some leading universities, such as the University of Birmingham or Southampton University, make alternative offers to students undertaking an EPQ.

What do you have to do?

You are required, with appropriate supervision, to: 

• choose an area of interest 

• draft a title and aims of the project for formal approval by the centre 

• plan, research and carry out the project 

• deliver a presentation to a non specialist audience 

• provide evidence of all stages of project development and production for assessment.


Mr Knight

Director of Vactional Education

You will start your EPQ in year 12 and finish it off in year 13. Not everyone will need to complete their EPQ. Some universities do not count it.  However, others do and they will give you a different offer if you do and EPQ.  Therefore, if you have started it in year 12, at least you have something there should you need it.

The pros and cons of doing an EQP


  • It allows you to move beyond the scope of what you are taught in the classroom.
  • It can be used to provide evidence for a passion you have, which may come in handy in university and job interviews. It also gives you something interesting to talk about.
  • It can be an excellent way of showing an interest in a degree subject that is not available at A level.
  • You learn how to structure a report properly, including an abstract, appendix and bibliography.
  • You get to develop a variety of skills including time management and learning how to reference, as well as improving organisation and planning.
  • It can enhance your presentation skills and help to increase your confidence.
  • As above, some universities may lower your offer if you get a particular grade in your EPQ.


  • It is very time consuming, so only enrol if you feel as though you would not be overburdening yourself.
  • If you do not have a genuine interest in the topic you choose, you may not be able to complete your EPQ to a high quality. It is a bit of a commitment and a lot of reading needs to take place.
  • If your A level work is a bit dull by comparison, it may distract you from your other studies.

Top tips on studying for your EPQ

  • Pick a topic you are interested in and genuinely passionate about – if you are interested in what you are researching it will not feel like a chore and will be something you are likely to commit to.
  • Make sure you record your sources as you go along. Everything needs to be referenced properly, and having to go back to find original pieces of information can be very time consuming – save yourself the hassle.
  • Allocate time each week to work on your EPQ and stick to it. Getting bits of research done consistently over a long period of time, no matter how big or small, will make the workload of the EPQ seem a lot less and make it more manageable, even if you are putting in the same hours.
  • Create clear, specific goals and deadlines for what you aim achieve by when. This will help you to hold yourself accountable, rather than neglecting your EPQ in favour of A level work for which your teachers have set the deadlines.
  • Make sure your referencing system is fit for purpose. Using Harvard is suggested.

For further information, students can access the FireFly EPQ pages