The EPQ is an opportunity to undertake a project investigating a subject about which you feel strongly. You may choose a topic related to your other courses or take the opportunity to follow a personal passion. It provides a context for critical thinking and project management skills. EPQ is only offered at AS Level.
Summary of course content
You choose your area of study in negotiation with a supervisor and submit it for formal approval. You identify and draft your main aims and objectives before planning, researching and delivering your project. The process is recorded in a production log, which is submitted with your final project. You will have to obtain and select information from a wide range of different sources, analyse your data and show that you understand the complexities of the topic you have chosen.
• Formulating aims and objectives
• Planning a project
• Taking notes and record-keeping
• Assessing the reliability and validity of sources
• Critical thinking
• Research methodology
• Referencing and plagiarism
• Decision making
• Presentation skills, including how to handle a question and answer session
• Evaluating the project and your own strengths and weaknesses
Every student has a production log to complete as a documented journey of their project. The evidence of your project is likely to be a 5,000-word written report but it may be an artefact accompanied by a 1,000-word report. Near the end of your project, you will make a presentation of your research, which will be video-recorded, and you will be expected to answer questions.
Methods of working
The taught element of the EPQ is delivered over two scheduled sessions per fortnight. In addition to the whole group lessons, you are likely to have small group and individual sessions with your supervisor for further support at each of the review stages of your project and you should be in regular contact with your supervisor by email. AQA expects 120 hours of study, which means a significant commitment of your own time, preparing you for the way you will be expected to work at university.
Completing the EPQ will help you develop your own organisational, project management and independent learning skills. These will help you become a more confident student in other areas of study.
Where the course leads
Being successful in EPQ is likely to enhance your application to higher education. It will help you stand out from other students, both in your personal statement and in an interview.
Special entry requirements
Because of the special nature of this course, the students suitable for EPQ are those who anticipate grades 6-9 from their subjects at GCSE, are well motivated and enthusiastic, can demonstrate their commitment to working independently and have a good track record of meeting deadlines.