PSI Master's Program

Perimeter Scholars International

Perimeter Scholars International is approximately 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 dedicated academic staff, Perimeter faculty, and some of the world's most brilliant 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 of Science from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

(Picture: 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 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-in-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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Each year adventurous and exceptional students from countries around the world are admitted to the PSI program and 25 of those students are awarded a scholarship to cover tuition, meals, accommodations, and other costs.

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The PSI program starts in September and runs for approximately 10 months to June of the following calendar year. 

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PSI consists of two phases of coursework and a short research project.  The course will advance:

  • Core Topics: foundational graduate-level subjects, including quantum theory, general relativity, quantum field theory, statistical physics, and condensed matter
  • Review courses: modern topics from fields such as cosmology, particle physics, gravitational physics, string theory, quantum information and condensed matter.
  • Elective work: cutting-edge research topics from various specialized fields.

Students will advance their research skills through:

Winter School: a week-long, hands-on group research project in collaboration with selected researchers

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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Although all course grades are either "credit" or "no credit," PSI's approach to evaluation involves assessment throughout the year conducted by the PSI Fellows.  This assessment is in the form of oral interviews (for core courses), homework assignments, and tutorial participation. 

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

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Successful graduates will receive a Perimeter Scholars International certificate from Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics at the end of the program, and will receive a Master of Science in Physics degree at the end of the academic term in August.

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