What is an extended project?

Find out what’s involved

An Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is awarded to students who do independent research on a topic they find interesting. EPQs are available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and are similar to the Scottish Advanced Higher Investigation and the International Baccalaureate Extended Essay qualification.

There are also other ways to do an extended research project: schemes like the Nuffield Foundation’s Research Placements and the British Science Association’s CREST Awards give students the opportunity to do practical scientific research, often working in universities. Parts of this guide are specifically about EPQs, but most of the ideas and advice could apply to other similar types of independent research projects.

Doing an EPQ involves planning, research and using independent study skills. At the end of an EPQ you would produce one of:

  • a report based on a practical investigation that you carry out (primary research)
  • a report (also known as a dissertation) based on research using books, articles and the internet (secondary research, also known as library research)
  • an artefact, which is something you’ve created or performed yourself.

You would also give a presentation on your work to your classmates.

EPQs are marked on your ability to plan, manage, carry out and review your project.

About this resource

This resource was first published in ‘Go Further: A practical guide to extended science projects’ in June 2015.

Go Further: A practical guide to extended science projects
Education levels:
16–19, Independent research projects