Wananga landing Wananga landing

Differing by (BSc) degrees: Twins graduate at age 18

28 March 2024

While many 18-year-olds are still at high school, teenage twins are celebrating graduating with non-identical University of Canterbury degrees. 


Photo caption: Twin Bachelors: 18-year-old brothers, Oscar (left) and George Henderson-Walshe have earned non-identical BSc degrees at the University of Canterbury.

In a rare tale of prodigious academic excellence, 18-year-old brothers Oscar and George Henderson-Walshe are celebrating their graduation with different Bachelor of Science (BSc) degrees from Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury (UC).

Despite starting their full-time university studies while most teens are still immersed in high school lessons, the fraternal twins navigated the challenges of UC campus life with aplomb.

Oscar and George Henderson-Walshe both began their university journey early in 2020 at age 14 with the Star programme while they were at Ao Tawhiti high school in Christchurch.

After turning his family’s garage into a laboratory in his early teens, Oscar says he felt like he needed another challenge. “Since starting at UC, I’ve been drawn to the fascinating, beautiful and useful world of chemistry.”

Oscar began full-time study at in 2021, majoring in Chemistry with a minor in Biochemistry. After graduating, he’s continuing his academic journey at UC with postgraduate study and research in applied organic chemistry in the School of Physical and Chemical Sciences.

“Right now, I’m researching new battery technologies, using my organic chemistry knowledge to develop new alternatives to traditional battery technology, and that’s really interesting to me.”

He will soon see his first academic paper published after co-authoring a Chemistry research paper. Oscar says the gist of it is that “organic dyes hold promise as inexpensive electrochemically active building blocks for new renewable energy technologies”.

George Henderson-Walshe also kicked off his academic adventure early via the Star programme at age 14 but started full-time at UC a year later than Oscar as he wanted to finish his scholarship year at school. For his BSc, George chose to major in Mathematics and minor in Chinese language Mandarin.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the beauty of mathematics and the richness of the Chinese language. I started with mathematics just as a means to an end for engineering, but I found mathematics so interesting and beautiful that that’s what I wanted to spend all my time on,” George says.

While studying full-time at UC, George was also active in restarting the MathSoc student social club, which had been dormant since 2019.

As the result of a UC summer research project with his lecturers, George is co-publishing a paper in an academic journal, Algebraic Enumeration of Polypolyhedra.

“My experiences at UC have been instrumental in shaping my academic journey and helped set me up for my master’s degree and I'm eager to explore further. I like to keep learning new things and that just opens lots of doors,” George says.

The brothers are already concentrating on their postgraduate Master of Science degrees. While Oscar is studying organic chemistry at UC, George is pursuing mathematics at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

As the Henderson-Walshe brothers continue new chapters in their individual academic journeys in different countries and scientific fields, the future looks exceptionally bright for the young scholars.

(UC’s Star programme offers capable secondary school students the opportunity to enrol in first-year degree-level courses while still at school.)

Congratulations to all UC graduates celebrating their success in April’s Autumn Graduation celebrations. E ngā kaimahi me ngā tauira o Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha, nāia te whakamānawa ki a koutou katoa.

Read more of our graduate success stories here.

sdg 4 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 - Quality education.

Media contact
  • Email
  • Phone: (03) 369 3631 or 027 503 0168
What to read next
Privacy Preferences

By clicking "Accept All Cookies", you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.