Extended Project Qualification

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a skills based, independent research project with a long history at Farnborough.  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.  Students enroll on the course towards the end of the summer term once their exams are over, work independently throughout summer and submit their work in December.

By choosing to complete an Extended Project, you are embarking on a challenging and rewarding journey which will enable you to become the College 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.

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.

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 2,000 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.

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.

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:

  • Building a remote control robotic arm
  • 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?
  • Building an MOT’d, roadworthy car
  • Producing a painting in the style of Chuck Close
  • Writing and producing a musical about the moon landings

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

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

Exam Board


Entry Requirements

  • There are no entry requirements but the course is usually taken as a supplement to your core three A levels, so you should demonstrate that you are able to cope with the additional workload without adversely affecting your current studies.
  • You must also be willing to work independently, have good time management skills and have the drive and motivation to complete the project with minimal support.

Employability Skills

  • 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