Graduation Ceremonies

Soldier who served in Afghanistan to receive degree in military dress


Capt Nick Nicholls


A British Army soldier who has served in Afghanistan is among the graduates who are collecting their degrees from the University of Bath this week (Wednesday 7 July).

Captain Nick Nicholls from the Royal Engineers Corps has received a Masters Degree with distinction in Electrical Power Systems through the University’s Electronic & Engineering distance learning course.

Capt Nicholls, 43, is a Garrison Engineer (Electrical), a commissioned infrastructure engineer specialising in ensuring the military has the electrical power and infrastructure it requires to carry out its missions.

He decided to study for the qualification to gain a better understanding of how national power transmission and distribution systems worked. 

He said: "On a day-to-day basis I use many of the skills that I have learned during my time at Bath and the added confidence that comes with completing such a high quality course of study is always a useful tool."

Capt Nicholls, who is originally from Kent, joined the army in 1986 and has served in the UK, Northern Ireland; Cyprus; Kosovo and the Falkand Islands as well as many other posts.

He is currently based in Chilwell, near Nottingham, where he lives with his wife Anita and their sons Jack, 14, and five-year-old Max.

Since September 2007 he has spent just under 12 months in Afghanistan and he is returning in September for two months. He took one of his exams in Afghanistan and competed coursework while on service.

He said: "I got into the habit of having some course work close to my helmet and body armour so I could grab them on my way to hard cover and use the time to keep up."

Captain Nicholls will receive his degree on Wednesday at Bath Abbey in full service dress including medals for his service in Afghanistan; Kosovo; Northern Ireland and Cyprus as well as the Accumulated Service and the Queens Jubilee.

He said he had a mixture of feelings about receiving the degree. "I feel elation at having completed something so important, relief that it is all over and sadness that I will be seeing less of Bath, its University and the staff of the Electrical Power Systems course.

"My wife should be getting an honorary degree today, as she has been forced to learn alongside me, and has read and re-read every word I have written and had to endure some very dull dinner conversation about the finer points of transmission system protection."

Dr Miles Redfern from the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering said: "We were very impressed that Capt Nicholls studied for this distance learning degree under such difficult circumstances and to get a distinction gets our upmost respect."

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