Pre U Global Perspectives Essay Ideas

Global Perspectives and Research

Head of Department:

Mrs K Hancock BSc (London School of Economics) 

Department Teaching Staff

Mr L C Fisher BA (Cantab), MA (King's College, London)

Mr G Greenbury MA (Cantab), EdM (Harvard), MA (Warwick)

Ms T St-Clair Ford BA (Cantab), MA (Chichester) 


The Cambridge Pre-U Global Perspectives and Independent Research (GPR) is a new course being offered at Epsom College and has been designed to prepare students for a fast-changing world where they face many issues of global significance which do not have straightforward solutions. The course allows students to develop the key skills that they will need in the Sixth Form and beyond.   The course is focused around the development of skills in understanding information, comprehension, research and presentation.

Students embarking on the Cambridge Pre-U Global GPR qualification have the opportunity to build their own programme of research and learn about global issues from a range of choices as diverse as global climate change, artificial intelligence and the religious-secular divide. Students explore their chosen topics through the different themes of culture, economics, environment, ethics, science and technology and politics and thus learn to examine the topics from frequently opposing perspectives. Throughout the course students acquire and develop thinking and reasoning skills as well as the ability to communicate their findings.

Course structure:

The full course is a two year course during which students develop their research, analysis, critical-thinking and communication skills through a series of timetabled sessions and seminars. The assessment, however, is entirely content free - in other words you will be assessed on what you can do rather than what you know. The Global Perspectives element of the course is externally assessed in November of the Upper Sixth in three ways:

1. Written Paper

A 90 minute written paper which poses a series of compulsory structured questions requiring students to analyse and evaluate argument, interrogate evidence and compare global perspectives.

2. Essay

Students choose one of the global issues covered and write a 1750-2000 word essay based on their research of a self-devised question. Students are externally assessed on their ability to explore arguments from different global perspectives and critically assess them to reach their own personal, informed point of view.

3. Presentation

Students research, develop and produce a 15 minute presentation, suitable for a non-specialist audience on a global issue to demonstrate their understanding of and empathy with alternative perspectives. Students are assessed on their ability to:

  • communicate a coherent argument;
  • demonstrate understanding of different points of view;
  • develop a line of reasoning;
  • express, evaluate and justify their own personal perspective;
  • present a convincing and well-supported conclusions.

Cambridge provide pre-release materials which students use as the basis of their presentations.

Independent Research Report

In the Upper Sixth, students also choose a specialist area and embark on preparing an extended project - the Independent Research Report. This allows the use of skills already developed as a foundation for deeper investigation. This could involve an interdisciplinary enquiry or perhaps researching a subject that the student plans to study at University. The report should be between 4500 and 5000 words and a single piece of extended writing. The extended essay is internally marked and submitted for moderation by Cambridge in June of the Upper Sixth.


Those students who successfully complete the full GPR course together with at least one other Pre-U Principal subject (e.g. English) and two further A-levels will be awarded the internationally recognised Cambridge Pre-U Diploma. D1 or D2 grades (A* equivalent) are worth 56 UCAS points.

Who can take GPR?

Global Perspectives and Research is a significant commitment with the two year course being equivalent to a full A-level. It is recommended for students with strong GCSE grades across a broad range of subjects.

Where can it take me in the future?

This course is about developing the skills students need at university and beyond. Universities and employers particularly value the skills developed via Global Perspectives in analysing and structuring arguments, synthesising information from different sources, independent research and communication.

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