Gumley House School FCJ

  • SearchSearch Site
  • Translate Translate Page
  • Twitter Twitter
  • Facebook Facebook
  • Instagram Instagram

Studying the EPQ

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

EPQ Director:  Dr M. Esslin-Peard

An EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) is, to put it simply, an independent project for which you’ll earn a qualification.

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a skills based, independent research project with a long history at Gumley House.  The project is unique in that you decide what it is about and the focus is on developing valuable skills rather than learning and examining content.  By choosing to complete an Extended Project, you are embarking on a challenging and rewarding journey which will enable you to become the Sixth Form expert in your chosen field and equip you with a range of skills valued both in further education and in the workplace.

Do you have a particular interest in some field of study which goes beyond the confines of your A levels?  Do you want to develop time management, research and independent study skills to give you the edge when you leave college?  Then the EPQ may well be for you.


  • Entry Criteria for studying the EPQ:
    Ideally you would have achieved an Average Point Score of 6.8 or above at GCSE.
  • Exam boardAQA
  • Learning JourneyEPQ



It involves writing an essay of about 5000 words, a pretty long piece of paperwork about your research and how you approached your project, and a final presentation where you’ll talk through this essay and paperwork. Alternatively you can make an ‘artefact’ - this can be a piece of artwork, or something else you’ve physically made – and an accompanying shorter essay.  We will guide you and train you towards how to reach your best outcome, but you’ll have to do most of it in your own allocated time, so you need to be able to organise your other subjects and commitments around this.

When studying an EPQ you can choose your own topic and project title. As long as your topic and title give you enough to talk about in an ‘academic’ style, you can do whatever you want! This is exciting, yes, but there is more to consider if you want to get the most out of an EPQ.

WHAT sort of qualification is it?

The EPQ is a Level 3 independent research project which earns you UCAS points.  An A in the EPQ will gain you 24 UCAS points, the same as an A grade at AS.  It is also possible to gain an A* in the EPQ, which is worth 28 UCAS points.

Why should I do an EPQ?

The EPQ allows you to pursue a passion or interest and be awarded a qualification for it.  The EPQ will gain you UCAS points and in many top universities (ask before you apply) may lower your entry requirements.  The EPQ will add another string to your bow, demonstrate passion in your chosen field, and give you something to discuss in your interviews for university.  The course equips you with a wide range of skills that will give you a head start at university and in the workplace.


The project is assessed entirely through coursework, in the form of a submitted ‘product’ and evidence of research and planning.  Candidates are assessed not only by the quality of their product but more significantly by their planning, time management, research and presentation skills.

A completed project consists of either a 5,000 word dissertation or an ‘artefact’ (which can be pretty much anything) and a 1,000 word report.  Either product must also be accompanied by a record of your planning, research and decision making as well as a record of your presentation.

what will i be doing in lessons?

Lessons vary in their content.  At the beginning of the course, students are taught all of the skills they need to successfully complete their project.  As the course progresses, students have a series of one on one meetings with their supervisor and will work independently during lessons.

WHat should my project be about?

Really, absolutely anything.  The only requirement is that it takes you beyond the content of your current programme of study.  You may choose a title which bridges across your A levels, you could decide to pursue an interest which you haven’t been able to continue at A level or you may decide to research a topic relevant to your intended career or degree course.  Past titles include:

  • Eradicating domestic violence
  • A study into the effects of music on quality of training in sports
  • Why does music affect our emotions?
  • Should we reduce the number of prison sentences in the UK?
  • Writing and producing a musical about the moon landings


  • The EPQ encourages independent study, requiring students to motivate themselves and manage their own time
  • Students are trained to use time management and planning techniques
  • Candidates are encouraged to conduct primary research, this often includes interviews with experts and academics
  • Students practice and hone their presentation skills and may choose to participate in the presentation evening where they present to a large audience
  • Candidates are required to reflect on their progress throughout the course and this prepares students further for an independent, reflective approach to their work later in life

Want to get a head start?

Further information about the EPQ (AQA) can be found here.

Feel free to start a blog or diary in advance and start reading more into your field of interest.