Two degrees for new program pioneer

Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Une jeune femme tient un cor français, des lunettes de sécurité sur son visage.

Margaret Watson has combined her two passions to become the first uOttawa joint Bachelor of Music/Honours Bachelor of Science program graduate. Photo: Dave Weatherall

By Rebecca MacFarlane

As Spring Convocation rapidly approaches, thousands of students are excitedly anticipating the moment they will walk across the stage to receive their degree. For Margaret Watson, the occasion will be a special milestone, for both herself and the University: She is the first student to graduate from the joint Bachelor of Music/Honours Bachelor of Science program.

Science and music have been lifelong passions for Watson, who is graduating magna cum laude in both degrees.

“I have been playing music since I was seven years old, and it was such an integral part of my life that I couldn't give it up,” she said. “I also really enjoy learning about the scientific aspects of the world around us and studying more in-depth concepts.”

As a result, applying seemed like a no-brainer when Professor Daniel Gress of the School of Music mentioned the new joint program to Watson at her initial audition.

The five-year BMus/BSc program allows students to delve deeply into science and music, with rigorous training in both fields through labs and recitals. 

“One of my proudest moments was completing my final recital this past year,” she said. “Being able to perform an hour-long recital and play some repertoire that I never would have thought I could play was a very rewarding moment. I will never forget it.”

Over the course of her studies, Watson has explored concepts in biochemistry, while honing her skills on the French horn. Thanks to the knowledge she’s gained in the program, she has also had the opportunity to work in a Health Canada lab through the Federal Student Work Experience Program.

What advice does this departing scholar have for students who aspire to obtain multiple degrees simultaneously?

“Time management is key,” she said. “A good work ethic will also help a lot, as there is always a lot of work to put into both areas of study.” Watson plans to pursue a master’s degree, then, hopefully, go on to a PhD program or medical school. 

Back to top