The EPQ is an independent research project on a topic of your choosing. It takes 120 hours of work to complete and the qualification counts as one AS level. You can choose to write a Dissertation, create an Artefact, produce a Performance or carry out an Investigation.
An EPQ qualification is evidence that you can work independently, manage your time well, problem-solve, conduct original research, and produce a high quality final product. For these reasons, it is highly valued by universities and employers.
Types of Project
A dissertation is an essay of 5000-6000 words, providing an answer to a question and focusing on a topic about which there has been debate. For example:
- How far were economic problems the main cause of the French Revolution of 1789?
- Is war ever justified?
An artefact is an object produced as a solution to a design brief. It must be based on thorough research, and records must be kept indication how ideas developed as the project progressed. For example:
- A book of photographs of a town in the Ukraine
- A Chinese lantern
- A formal dress
- A complete wired cat skeleton
A performance could be music, drama or sport related. It must take place before an audience, and records must be kept which show the development of skills and techniques. For example:
- A performance of modern piano works
- A rhythmic gymnastics display
An investigation is a project – often scientific or psychological – that tests a hypothesis and involves the collection of data. For example:
- How do children express emotions through art?
- How does ph value influence plant cover?
Is the EPQ for you?
You will enjoy and benefit from the EPQ if you:
- want the opportunity to achieve a highly regarded additional qualification.
- can think of an interesting Project area that would complement your core subjects, or prepare you for a university course or career.
- work well independently and can meet strict deadlines.
- want to develop your skills of problem-solving and independent research.
Michael designed a single control box to accompany a model railway. He chose this project as he wished to study electronics at university, and was offered a university place on the strength of his EPQ.
Zuzanna wrote a dissertation on the Polish Revolution of 1989. She chose this project as her family are Polish and she wished to understand more about Polish history.
How much work is involved?
Lots! You must:
- work consistently throughout the year
- research extensively
- keep a detailed log of the work completed
- attend regular meetings with your tutor
- submit a thorough write-up of your Project, and give a short presentation on your Project.
Applying for the EPQ
Currently, the EPQ can be taken in your second year at college. Towards the end of your first year you will be given instructions on how to apply.