Extended Project Qualification

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An Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a qualification taken by some students in the United Kingdom, where it is equivalent to half an A level. They are part of level three of the National Qualifications Framework. It is currently graded A* to E.[1]

The extended project was devised by Sir Mike Tomlinson in 2006, during his review of 16- to 19-year-olds' education.[2] It was a compulsory part of the 14–19 Diploma taken by students in England and Wales between 2008 and 2013. All students may take an extended project as a free-standing qualification, the EPQ, following a recommendation by four examination boards of England and Wales (Edexcel, OCR, AQA and CIE) and England's qualifications authority, the QCA.[3]

The students' choice of topic is free, although they must show that it is academically useful, either related to their current course of study, or their future career. It takes the form of either a dissertation (5,000 words being a common guideline[4][5]) or a number of other forms: a musical or dramatical composition, report or artefact, backed up with paperwork. David MacKay, head of the 14-19 curriculum at the QCA, is in favour of EPQs, saying: "Extended projects can help students to develop and demonstrate a range of valuable skills through pursuing their interests and investigating topics in more depth." It has also been praised by universities for guiding students into higher education (typically universities).[3] According to the QCA, an extended project is "a single piece of work requiring a high degree of planning, preparation, research and autonomous working."[2]

The Extended Project Qualification is also part of the AQA Baccalaureate.


  1. ^ What are Extended Project Qualifications?. AQA website. Accessed 18 April 2010.
  2. ^ a b Schools consulted on new project. BBC News (May 2006). Accessed 18 April 2010.
  3. ^ a b Extended project for all call. BBC News (May 2009). Accessed 18 April 2010.
  4. ^ "Level 3 Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) specification" (PDF). AQA. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  5. ^ "Extended Project: Centre handbook/specification" (PDF). OCR. Retrieved 18 September 2011.