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Canford is proud to offer its Sixth Formers the opportunity to study for the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ.) This is a research-based qualification which allows you to decide on your own question, research it and create a project that either takes the form of a 5000-word essay or the development of an artefact along with a 1000-word essay. It is equivalent to half an A Level.

I found my EPQ a really efficient way to do research, referencing resources, and it helped me plan and write an academic essay.  It also improved my presentation skills which I found very helpful in terms of my confidence when applying to university.

Albert Zhang, recent leaver

All Lower Sixth pupils take the taught part of the course, running through the Christmas Term. During this term, all will write a 500-1000 word essay for an internal competition on any subject of their choosing. The best of these win prizes and a number of pupils then submit essays to national competitions, many of them run by Oxford or Cambridge universities.  The vast majority then opt to take up the challenge of an EPQ, which is planned researched and written over the next 12 months. The final step is to give a presentation to a group of pupils and teachers. Those who complete the project usually go on to get A* or A grades.

Undertaking the EPQ has allowed me to broaden my research skills and techniques. I am much more competent and comfortable at searching for papers and interpreting the results. I am now able to critically analyse and evaluate scientific papers, which has been a great benefit to me, given me confidence and prepared me well for my research project at medical school.

Emma Khoury, recent leaver

Why take an EPQ?


  1. It will help you develop research skills that will be needed for further study at university.

  2. You can research anything that interests you, often something linked to your choice of degree or career.

  3. It can lead to the discovery of an academic passion that you didn’t know you had.

  4. It can help you get an offer to university and some will give reduced offers if you say you are doing one.

  5. Research shows that students who complete an EPQ do better in their A levels.

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