Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

Education at St Paul’s School is about far more than exams.

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) gives pupils the freedom to pursue their individual intellectual and creative passions beyond the syllabus.

It offers an incredible opportunity to develop a scholarly approach to academic work, studying a subject of your own choice to great depth, with one-on-one tutorial support from a dedicated member of staff.

EPQs take many forms: academic dissertations, scientific investigations, musical or theatrical performances, portfolios of art and creative writing, or engineering and design commissions. Through managing and evaluating their own project, pupils also acquire the skills that will help them flourish at university and beyond, as confident and independent learners, with a capacity for self-awareness and reflection.

Study for the Extended Project begins at the end of the Sixth Form (Year 11), when pupils attend a Kickstarter Day that introduces them to research skills and prepares them for a summer of exploration and inquiry.  In the Lower Eighth (Year 12), they finalise the selection of a topic they would like to explore in more depth, and conduct their own study, working closely with an academic supervisor from the teaching staff.

The project is completed over two terms and culminates in a presentation of the pupils’ research to their peers, an exciting opportunity to share their scholarship and their creations with a wider audience.

The EPQ is challenging, but immensely rewarding for pupils and their supervisors alike. It offers a chance to work at an under-graduate level in a school setting, and many universities welcome and value it highly as it offers superb evidence not only of a prospective student’s individuality and originality, expressed through their choice of project, but also of their critical thinking skills and personal and intellectual maturity.

We are enthusiastic about the Extended Project Qualifications — and so are top universities. Cambridge, for example, say the following: “We welcome the introduction of the Extended Project and would encourage you to undertake one as it will help you develop independent study and research skills and ease the transition from school/college to higher education.”

The course is equivalent to half an A Level (graded A* to E). Our results have been exceptional: consistently over 2/3 of our boys achieve the top grade.

Example EPQ project titles – 2019

Dissertation

What is the future for Cryptocurrency?

What are the arguments that are most effective at defeating a skeptic?

Was Thatcherism and Thatcher’s rule beneficial to the UK and Europe and did she save the UK from continued decline?

At what rate do E. coli phenotypes change under certain harsh conditions?

Why did Stalin hate the opera ‘Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk’ so much?

To what extent will Quantum Computers provide an advantage over classical computers?

To what extent will the Belt and Road Initiative improve geopolitical relations in South Asia?

To what extent is China’s foreign policy harmful to other countries?

Investigation

Can I create a code library that uses neuro evolution to improve the accuracy/training time of anybody’s neural network through topology optimisation?

Ionizing Radiation Effect on Every-day Material Observed Under SEM

The Application of Hidden Markov Models In Time Series Analysis of Stock Data And Informing Trading Strategies

Performance

Can I rework undervalued songs from the 60s and create a piece of music that sounds contemporary in the digital age?

How well can I create a piece of music entirely made from audio samples in the instrumental hip-hop style of DJ Shadow?

Listen to Sam H-W’s EPQ project 

Artefact

Can I successfully create a 2 minute animation reel using Disney’s 12 principles of animation as a basis for learning?

EPQ Project - Tom W animation video