All CSMS students undertake the Extended Project Qualification in Year 12.

The EPQ is a standalone qualification designed to extend and develop skills in independent research and project management. It is a well-recognised and highly regarded qualification by universities. It is self-directed and requires students to take responsibility for the choice, design, planning and completion of an individual project. The skills acquired in the EPQ are unrivalled when it comes to preparation for higher education.

The Extended Project gives students the chance to study an area of interest in great depth and is a fantastic opportunity to incorporate passions and interests into studies. Many CSMS students choose to carry out original scientific research, producing academic papers and 

 Our results are exceptional:


Grades at A*


Grades at A*-C

For my EPQ, I focused on Physarum polycephalum (commonly known as slime mould), a simple, singlecelled organism that displays signs of intelligence despite lacking a brain. Inspired particularly by the work of Japanese researchers at Hokkaido University. I personally cultured the organism, investigated its ability to create optimal networks, and used this to examine the efficiency of a major rail route.


Jodie G-S studying Chemical Engineering at University of Bath

Achieved Biology (A*), Chemistry (A), Maths (A), EPQ (A*)





You can take inspiration from a topic studied in class or entirely unrelated to your studies. It will also enable you to become more critical, reflective and you will learn to apply new technologies confidently. 


Whilst completing your own independent project, you will have taught skills sessions throughout the year on topics such as:

  • Time management
  • Collecting & analysing data
  • Conducting research
  • Data representation
  • Report Writing
  • Referencing
  • Presentation Skills


It is valued by Oxbridge and Russell Group universities and employers with some universities making reduced offers to students undertaking an EPQ, even having the opportunity to have them published in peer reviewed journals.


An EPQ is equivalent to half an A level, and is worth more than an AS. With an EPQ you are able to achieve an A* grade, unlike with an AS level, so it can be worth more tariff points. For the EPQ:

  • A*: 28 points
  • A: 24 points
  • B: 20 points
  • C: 16 points
  • D: 12 points
  • E: 8 points

If it doesn’t directly lower your entry requirements, it will certainly strengthen your application.

We welcome the introduction of the Extended Project and would encourage you to undertake one as it will help you develop independent study and reasearch skills and ease the transition from school/college to higher education.

University of Cambridge

The university recognises that some A Level students may also choose to offer the Extended Project, in such cases, some admissions tutors may make two alternative offers, one of which will involve success in the Extended Project (for example, either AAA at A Level or AAB at A level plus Extended Project,

University of Bristol