PSI students interacting

Frequently asked questions

Below are frequently asked questions from students applying to Perimeter Scholars International. Please carefully read through these questions and answers before emailing PSI for any other inquiries.


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, 2023 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.

What physics background should I have for PSI?

Students should have demonstrated understanding of undergraduate-level topics in:

  • Classical mechanics
  • Electromagnetism
  • 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: a statement on equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), a list of publications, GRE scores (physics or math), and English Language Proficiency (ELP) score results. Please see below for details on these additional materials.

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 the following points.

The answers to these questions will be the primary source used in determining the suitability of your application.

1. Please compare the candidate with other students you have encountered at a similar level. Describe the group with which you are comparing the candidate.

2. Please elaborate below on the candidate’s abilities and motivation. We ask that you consider the following aspects in your evaluation:

  • the candidate’s ability to find creative and innovative solutions to problems,
  • the candidate’s curiosity about topics in theoretical physics,
  • the candidate’s ability to quickly learn new and difficult concepts,
  • the candidate’s ability to deeply understand concepts they have learned,
  • the candidate’s tenacity and determination when approaching difficult problems,
  • the candidate’s self-motivation and ambition,
  • the candidate’s work ethic,
  • the candidate’s ability to work independently.

3. Please elaborate below on the candidate’s group collaboration skills and commitment to EDI (equity, diversity, and inclusion). We ask that you consider the following aspects in your evaluation:

  • the candidate’s ability to work collaboratively on problems,
  • the candidate’s ability to listen to and appreciate others’ points of view,
  • the candidate’s ability to accept constructive criticism and guidance in their work,
  • the candidate’s ability to convey their understanding to colleagues and help them understand,
  • the candidate’s understanding of the importance of EDI in research and learning environments,
  • the candidate’s commitment to improving EDI practices in their research and learning environments.

4. Please elaborate below on the candidate's preparedness for graduate work in Theoretical Physics:

  • The candidate's preparedness to study graduate topics in physics.
  • The candidate's demonstrated research ability in theoretical physics.

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 is the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) statement (optional)?

Your EDI statement is a place for you to provide additional information to the admissions committee and is strictly optional.

Perimeter Institute is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion in our community.

In your EDI statement, you are invited to share any information that will help the admissions committee evaluate your application holistically. This information could include obstacles you have overcome, extenuating circumstances, information about actions you have taken to increase equity, diversity, or inclusion, or any other information that you deem relevant.

What are the English language proficiency (ELP) exam requirements for entrance to PSI?

For your PSI application, we will accept unofficial ELP exam results. If your application is successful, you must also 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 MSc program?

Perimeter Institute will be unable to provide any documentation regarding the successful completion of the program. Any official notification must come from the University of Waterloo and this will only be available around the end of August.

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.