Cambridge International Project Qualification (Cambridge IPQ) is an exciting project-based qualification. Students have the opportunity to develop skills by carrying out research into a topic of their choice. Taking Cambridge IPQ allows learners to demonstrate engagement with their chosen topic beyond preparation for an exam, helping them to stand out from the crowd with university and job applications.
Who is Cambridge IPQ for?
Cambridge IPQ is typically for learners aged 16 to 19 years. It is ideal for students who want to extend learning beyond their Cambridge International AS & A Levels and are looking for an opportunity to stand out from the crowd when applying to universities and employers.
Studying for the Cambridge IPQ allows learners to demonstrate engagement with their chosen topic beyond preparation for an exam. Academic evidence suggests that this sort of deeper engagement will help develop their ability to be life-long learners.
What will students learn?
This is a skills-based qualification. Learners develop higher-order thinking skills that universities and employers look for, including analysis, evaluation and synthesis. It also builds their research, reflection and communication skills.
What will students do?
Learners complete a 5000 word research project on a topic of their own choice. They can choose a subject to complement one of their Cambridge International AS or A Levels, or a topic that they are passionate about. They devise and develop a research question, conduct research to answer this question, record their progress in a research log and write a research report.
In consultation with their teacher who will support them, students will:
- identify a suitable research topic
- devise, justify and develop an appropriate research question
- plan and carry out the research, including undertaking a literature review
- identify, justify and use appropriate research methods
- write a 5000 word report
- use appropriate academic conventions for presentation of the report
- keep track of their progress using a research log.
How is Cambridge IPQ assessed?
Cambridge IPQ is a single component that is externally assessed (all projects are marked by Cambridge examiners). Students will be eligible for grades A* to E. Although it is a standalone qualification, it will be graded by Cambridge at the same standard as a Cambridge International A Level.
What support is available?
We have developed a range of practical resources so that you can give your learners the best possible preparation for Cambridge IPQ:
- Syllabus – details what learners need to know, what they must be able to do, and how we assess reports. View the 2023-2025 Syllabus (PDF, 351KB).
- Past papers and mark schemes – help learners become familiar with exam requirements and how to answer questions. View the 2021 Examiner Report (PDF, 233KB) and the 2021 Mark Scheme Paper 1 (PDF, 173KB)
- Teacher Guide – provides guidance on delivering and administering the course and supporting students with their research projects.
- Learner Guide – introduces students to Cambridge IPQ and provides detailed guidance on research skills and the research process.
- Example Candidate Responses (ECR) – uses examples of candidates’ work to show how different levels of performance (high, middle, and low) relate to the subject’s curriculum and assessment objectives.
Download materials from our School Support Hub.
Is there training for teachers?
Yes. Visit our Events and training calendar to find a course.
What skills will learners need?
The Cambridge IPQ builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills typically gained by candidates taking Cambridge IGCSEs or O Levels. We recommend that learners who are beginning this course have attained communication and literacy skills at a level equivalent to Cambridge IGCSE/ GCSE Grade C in English.
Is Cambridge IPQ recognised by universities?
A growing number of universities recognise the value Cambridge IPQ provides to prospective undergraduates. Visit our Statement of support for Cambridge IPQ to hear why universities are supporting the qualification within their admissions process.
How can we start to teach Cambridge IPQ?
If you are already a Cambridge Upper Secondary and Advanced school, you can start to teach the programme as soon as you are ready. If you are interested in becoming a Cambridge school, complete our Expression of Interest form.