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Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) at Priestley College

Course description

You decide on your own essay title, artefact to produce, type of performance or experiment/investigation. Unlike all your other courses, you will become the expert in your chosen field; your tutor is there to support you as well as to discuss your ideas and inform your planning. Extended Project Qualification or EPQ is a Level 3 qualification that is the equivalent of an extra AS-Level. As it is assessed at A-Level standard, hence it is the only AS in which you can achieve an A* grade. This is equivalent to 28 ‘new’ UCAS points (70 ‘old’ UCAS points). Some universities, such as Bristol and Sheffield, can make a lower offer to students who complete an EPQ on a topic linked to the student’s chosen degree course.

Course content

The Extended Project Qualification takes up one block on your timetable. You will be timetabled for two hours per week in lessons which you will need to supplement with a minimum of two and a half hours per week of independent study. We will help you to develop the sort of skills that universities, training providers and employers really value: time management, planning, research, independent study, critical analysis, referencing skills and presentation. Students tend to choose a title that links to and stems from one of the following: your favourite subject; your intended university course or possible future career; an outside personal interest such as sport, music, fashion or wider reading.

Entry requirements

You will need to have strong literacy and numeracy skills (be able to express yourself well in both the spoken and written word). We would recommend that students have a minimum of a C/4 in GCSE English and Maths, though individual applications will be considered on their merit. You will need to have good analytical skills in order to interpret and evaluate source material. You will need to carry out in-depth research, going well beyond the first page of Google or a few clicks on Wikipedia. Have you tried Google Scholar or listened to BBC Radio 4 or BBC World Service podcasts? You will! Above all, the key is to choose a title that interests you and that motivates you to keep to your schedule: time management is critical.


Most students opt for the Dissertation, which is a 6,000 word academic essay on your chosen subject. Some students decide to make or manufacture something, which is called an artefact. They write a design brief, against which their artefact is assessed, plus a shorter report of around 2,000 words in support of their product. Occasionally students decide to put on a performance which is assessed and some opt for an investigation or experiment. All students have to maintain an accurate activity log and to give a presentation, usually to the rest of their class. For a variety of reasons, an alternative audience can be arranged. There are two submission points in the year: some exceptionally highly motivated and well organised students late November/early December submissions receive their result in February. Most candidates work towards April submissions and receive their grade in August. There is no examination for this course; it is, in effect, all coursework. The EPQ will be submitted prior to the start of the examination period, so it should not interfere with revision for other subjects.

Future opportunities

If you are applying for university, an EPQ will give you plenty to talk about in your UCAS Personal Statement or to discuss at interview. This is particularly true if you are considering applying for Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science, Law, Teaching, Midwifery or Nursing to mention a few. It has been described by one recent EPQ student as “the best thing I ever did in preparation for my university course.” It will improve your time management, research skills and self-reliance, due to the fact that it is not really a taught course; you improve your own independent study skills as you go through the process.

Further information

Students will have the opportunity to participate in a visit to a university to further their research. The Extended Project is an excellent opportunity to undertake some original research as part of your project or to integrate with a work-based placement.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Priestley College directly.

Last updated date: 10 October 2016
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