Do you want your UCAS application to stand out? Are you looking for a way to boost your grades? Or maybe you want a head start on useful skills that’ll help you through university? An Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) could be just the thing for you.
Watch UEA students explain the EPQ and discuss their experiences of undertaking the project.
What is the EPQ?
An EPQ is a qualification awarded to students who complete a particular type of research project, about a subject they’re really interested in. It gives students a chance to show they can manage independent research and project management, which looks pretty impressive to universities and employers.
The project can take around 120 hours to complete, and could be worth half an A level (up to 70 UCAS points), depending on your final grade. An EPQ can be completed during the summer holidays, so it doesn’t have to mess up your study schedule.
What does the EPQ involve?
You’ll need to pick a specific topic that you want to investigate, and then either write a report about it (of around 5000 words), or produce an ‘artefact’ (such as a website, costume or musical recording) and a shorter report. After that you’ll be asked to round everything up into a short presentation to a group of people who are not specialists in your subject.
During the project you’ll be demonstrating your ability to search for information, plan a project, write academically, think critically, build and support arguments, and record and reflect critically on your progress. These are all skills you’ll need to use at university, so it's a great way to get a head start and make life easier for yourself when you start your degree.
Help with EPQs
You’ll have a project supervisor (usually a teacher) who will help you through the process, and you may even have access to other educational resources locally.
Why do the EPQ?
- Universities and employers are increasingly recognising EPQs when assessing applications, so it can boost your chances of getting to where you want to be, by adding UCAS points (up to 70 UCAS points) or reducing your grade offer.
- It helps develop skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, presentation and creativity, which are all really useful not only for university study, but also for the world of work.
- It gives you the chance to explore your passions, and become an expert in something that really interests you – this could potentially be something you’ve never had the chance to formally study.
- It increases your confidence, knowing your hard work has resulted in an extra qualification, expert knowledge, skills and experience that you might not have otherwise had.
- It gives you something unique to talk about in interviews, which can be very handy if you’re running out of things to say! If it’s related to the university course you’re applying for, even better.
- It could widen your options for funding – UEA’s Bright Spark Scholarship requires students to hold a research project qualification, such as an EPQ.
Bright Spark Scholarship
The Bright Spark scholarship rewards your hard work on an assessed extended project, alongside your level 3 studies. We look for a research project - an EPQ, Extended Essay or equivalent qualification - that could be linked to one of UEA's four faculties: arts and humanities, medicine and health, social sciences or science. If you meet the criteria and apply before the deadline, you could be rewarded with £3,000 (paid in three annual instalments of £1,000).
You will need to achieve:
- BBB at A level plus A in the EPQ or
- 31 IB points plus B in the Extended Essay or
- Equivalent qualifications
Ready to get going?
We've put together some useful videos, activities and resources to help you with your EPQ - from setting your question to presenting your findings.