About PSI

Perimeter Scholars International

Perimeter Scholars International is a one-year Master's-level course in theoretical physics designed to bring highly qualified and exceptionally motivated graduate students to the cutting edge of the field in an intense, interactive training environment.

Taught by some of the world's top physicists, students at PSI are fully integrated into the unique international culture and dynamic research atmosphere of a leading centre, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, while earning a Master's of Science degree from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

Prof. Stephen Hawking, PSI Patron and Perimeter Institute Distinguished Visiting Research Chair, with the PSI Class of 2010.

Why PSI?

PSI is a different kind of physics Master's training program aimed at ambitious and driven young minds who want to be at the cutting edge of science and discovery.

PSI could be the perfect fit for you if:

  • You know you want to pursue theoretical physics, but have not yet committed to a sub-field such as cosmology, particle physics, or quantum information. The PSI program will expose you to the full breadth of theoretical physics in courses taught by world-leading minds in each area, allowing you to discover your area of interest. 
  • You want to continue your studies with a PhD, working under the guidance of a Perimeter Faculty member.
  • You value collaboration over competition, and are interested in conducting research-driven coursework alongside some of the world's leading theoretical physicists.
  • You want to immerse yourself in theoretical physics, push your limits, and experience a once-a-lifetime physics "boot camp" among like-minded peers from around the globe.

"It's the ideal place to be for 10 months of intense work -- it's a very good way to kick-start a career." - Nima Afkhami-Jeddi, Graduate, PSI Class of 2014

"If I had extremely talented undergrads asking me what to do next, I would tell them to do the PSI program." - Nima Arkani-Hamed, physicist and past PSI Faculty 

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ADMISSIONS and FUNDING

Each year up to 30 adventurous and exceptional students from countries around the world are admitted to the PSI program.

Admission is highly competitive, with nearly 400 applicants.

Students admitted receive full scholarships and living expenses.

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WHEN IS PSI?

Classes start in mid-August, and, within 10 months, successful graduates of PSI will receive both a Master's Degree in Physics from the University of Waterloo and a Perimeter Scholars International Certificate from Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

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COURSEWORK

The coursework is divided into four phases and is followed by a short research project.  The course will advance:

  • Research Skills: presentation skills, basic mathematical tools, and computers.
  • Core Topics: foundational subjects, including quantum mechanics, general relativity, quantum field theory, statistical physics, condensed matter, and mathematical physics.
  • Reviews: applications to real-world phenomena, such as particle physics, cosmology, gravitational physics, quantum gravity and condensed matter. Students will choose from a selection of courses.
  • Explorations: short, in-depth courses on specialized fields which are currently "hot."
  • The Essay: each student undertakes a short research project supervised by a Faculty member, and produces an essay that is publicly presented and defended.

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GRADING

Although all course grades are either "credit" or "no credit," PSI's approach to evaluation involves continuous assessment throughout the year conducted by PSI's resident Fellows and Faculty.

The goal is to encourage all students to achieve their potential and to avoid grade-chasing competition.

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