Extended Project Qualification: What Is an EPQ?


  1. What is an EPQ course?
  2. Is an EPQ an extended project?
  3. Is an EPQ equivalent to an A level?
  4. How much work does an EPQ entail?
  5. Is an EPQ worth it?

If you’re in secondary school, you may be thinking about doing an EPQ – especially if you have a particular field of interest or would like to boost your chances of getting into some of the UK’s top universities

But what exactly is an extended project qualification, and how could doing one benefit you? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about these independent research projects.studying on laptop

What is an EPQ course?


EPQ stands for extended project qualification, and it’s an independent research task students can take on. 

An EPQ gives you the chance to gain an extra qualification that can give you more UCAS points, and taking on this kind of independent project could look great on your CV and university applications too. 

A number of schools and colleges in England and Wales offer you the chance to take an EPQ alongside your A-levels. EPQ subjects are very varied and give you the chance to take a deep dive into almost any topic you have an interest in. 

An EPQ can help you get into university since completing the project will look great on your personal statement, and in fact, some courses will lower the grade requirements for students who achieve a high EPQ grade. 


Is an EPQ an extended project?


EPQ stands for extended project qualification. It’s an independent research task that involves writing an extended essay of around 5,000 words or creating an artefact (a product) with an accompanying short essay of around 1,000 words. If you opt for an artefact EPQ, you can create almost anything – an art piece, an app or a short film for example. 

At the end of your EPQ, you will give a 10-15 minute presentation of your project to peers and assessors. You will also reflect on the EPQ-process and your progress as you develop your project. 


Is an EPQ equivalent to an A level?


A top grade in an EPQ is equivalent to half an A-level. Achieving a good grade on their EPQ would be very beneficial for your university application. 

For the EPQ, students get the following UCAS points depending on the grade they achieve:

  • A*: 28 points
  • A: 24 points
  • B: 20 points
  • C: 16 points
  • D: 12 points
  • E: 8 points

If you are thinking about taking on an EPQ, you’re likely looking into extended project qualification ideas and wondering what types of EPQ projects you can work on. 

One of the great things about doing an EPQ is that you can choose your own topic and project title freely, giving you the chance to research something you’re interested in and develop an essay or product over a longer period of time. As long as your chosen topic gives you enough to work on and talk about in an academic style, you can select whatever you’d like for their EPQ. 


How much work does an EPQ entail? 


 An EPQ is estimated to be around 120 hours of work. 

Much of this work can be completed during school holidays if necessary, and you will manage your own time – meaning you will get the benefit of experience when it comes to finding a good balance between your regular workload and other commitments. 

For those who have particular topics they’re interested in, an EPQ could be a fantastic way to apply themselves and take a deep dive into whatever subject they have a passion for. A lot of students pursue an EPQ because they have a genuine interest in the topic they’re researching and are motivated to do a good job on the project. In order to achieve a high grade on an EPQ, you need to show commitment, dedication and the ability to work independently. 


Is an EPQ worth it?


An EPQ qualification is highly beneficial for students who have the interest and capacity needed to take one. You should keep in mind that this is a long-term research project and that you’ll be managing your own time and work – so if you’re struggling with your coursework or work better within a more structured learning framework, an EPQ may not be the best option for you. 

There are plenty of learning benefits of working on an EPQ. Completing an EPQ shows passion, initiative and that you can succeed with independent research. It also prepares you for the world of academia – most students will be much more prepared for university if they’ve already completed a 5000-word academic essay based on their own interests and ideas, and will have picked up plenty of writing skills along the way.

Some students perform better on long-term projects based on topics they’re interested in than on exams, which can be fraught with stress and anxiety. If you work better when you have a longer period of time to gradually work on a project, an EPQ could be well worth considering!