Frequently asked questions
Is there an application fee?
No, there is no application fee.
Will I get scholarship funding?
Successful PSI applicants will receive funding as described in the Financial Support section. Applicants are also encouraged to seek out and apply for externally available scholarships.
When is the application deadline?
Applications received by February 1, 2024 at 11:59pm EST will receive first consideration. However, late applications will be considered until all positions are filled.
Will applications be considered after the deadline?
Late applications will be considered until all positions are filled but is not guaranteed. However, we do accept late submission of the ELP scores (TOEFL, IELTS, C1 Advanced, C2 Proficiency) if these are unavailable by the deadline.
What are my chances of being accepted into the PSI program?
We are unable to tell you via email what your chances are of being accepted into the PSI program. Each year, we receive several hundred applications for approximately 25 available positions.
Is a physics undergraduate degree required to apply to the PSI program?
We recognize that the access to opportunities to study physics at the university level vary greatly. Candidates with the required background knowledge of physics but without a degree in physics are welcome to apply to PSI. Enrollment in the University of Waterloo MSc program normally requires an undergraduate degree in physics or a related field.
If you are unable to upload a transcript for any reason, you may upload a short (300 words) summary of how you acquired the prerequisite background knowledge. You may wish to include books read, online courses taken, events attended, etc. All other components of the application, including recommendation letters, must be submitted as described in the application.
We will contact shortlisted candidates who are missing any application materials necessary for enrollment in the University of Waterloo MSc program to discuss their individual situations.
What physics background should I have for PSI?
Students should have demonstrated understanding of undergraduate-level topics in:
- Classical mechanics
- Special relativity
- Quantum mechanics
- Statistical physics
What will I need for my PSI application?
Below is a list of mandatory items to be uploaded with your application.
- Official or unofficial post-secondary transcript(s)
- A current curriculum vitae (CV)
- A statement of purpose (maximum of 2 pages)
- A minimum of three referee names and email addresses
- Required for certain international students: ELP (TOEFL, IELTS, C1 Advanced, C2 Proficiency)
Optional items that you may also include with your application: GRE scores (physics or math), and English Language Proficiency (ELP) score results. Please see below for details on these additional materials.
NOTE: Students' application and uploads should be able to provide information on aspects of their suitability to the program by answering some of the same questions we ask the referees to consider when writing your letter of reference.
How many referees can I list?
Applications must include at least three referee names and email addresses, with space available for an optional fourth referee.
How do my referees submit their reference letters?
We encourage you to contact your referees before listing them on your application. Please let them know that they will receive an automated email from AJO (Perimeter's application tool) with with instructions for submitting their reference letters and that letters should address specific questions as outlined in "What to include your reference letter for the PSI Program".
NOTE: Referees will NOT be able to access your application or view your private information.
What should be included in my statement of purpose?
Your statement of purpose should describe your reasons for applying to the PSI master’s program, your preparation for the program, and any other information that may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your ability and motivation to pursue a graduate degree in physics.
What if my transcripts are not in English?
If you are uploading a transcript in a language other than English, you must include an English translation. At the application stage, the translation is not required to be certified.
If you are accepted into the PSI program, we will require that official academic transcripts are mailed to Perimeter Institute in signed, sealed envelopes from each post-secondary institution you have attended. If the official transcripts are in a language other than English, we will require a certified English translation.
Do I require GRE results for admission to PSI?
Although the physics GRE is not required for applying to PSI, we will take your GRE score (physics and general) into consideration if you submit it with your application.
What are the English language proficiency (ELP) exam requirements for entrance to PSI?
For your initial application, including ELP exam results are optional (however, they are highly recommended). If you do wish to include it in your application, we will accept unofficial ELP exam results. If your application is successful, you must then meet the University of Waterloo's requirements:
The University of Waterloo requires an English language proficiency (ELP) exam (such as the TOEFL, IELTS, C1 Advanced, C2 Proficiency) unless you have attended one of the international universities on the University of Waterloo's ELP exemption list. For accepted ELP examinations and required minimum scores, please visit the University of Waterloo's Graduate Studies Academic Calendar. If your exam scores are below the listed minimum requirements, your application will still be considered and, if accepted, you will be required to take an English language course.
To summarize, it is possible to proceed with your PSI application providing only unofficial results, but please be aware that official results will be required if you are a successful applicant.
For TOEFL, the institution codes are: UW TOEFL code Institution: 0996 (University of Waterloo) Dept code: 01 (Graduate Studies); Perimeter Institute: Institution: 4239 Dept Code: N/A
What documents do I need to mail in hard copy form?
Do not mail hard copies of academic transcripts or any other application item until asked. We will not view hard copies unless they have been requested.
How long is the program?
The program will run for typically ten months, however, students are enrolled at the University of Waterloo until the end of August.
When will I receive notification of successful completion of the University of Waterloo MSc program?
Perimeter Institute will be unable to provide any documentation regarding the successful completion of the University of Waterloo's MSc program. Any official notification must come from the University of Waterloo and this will only be available around the end of August.
Can I apply to PSI Start and the PSI master's program in the same year?
You are able to apply to both the PSI Start and PSI master's programs in the same year. However, you will not be accepted to both in the same year. If an offer for either program is made, it will be for the program that we feel is the best fit for you – not necessarily your preferred choice. Participants in the PSI Start program generally complete one additional year of study before starting in the PSI master's program or another graduate program in physics.
For example, if you apply for both, and receive an offer for the PSI Start school or internship, you will be removed from consideration for PSI master's program in the same year, and will need to re-apply to the next year of the PSI master's program. You will not be given the opportunity to choose between the programs. Exceptions are possible for students displaced or at risk due to conflict.
What will be or has been the impact of COVID-19?
We are taking direction from Public Health in Ontario, Canada, and will continue to update the Perimeter website with any changes.
The PSI program is supported by the Savvas Chamberlain Family Foundation, the Hellenic Heritage Foundation, the Marsland Family, and members of the Emmy Noether Circle.