Thomas C. Sheahan

Executive Vice Provost,  Office Of The Provost
Professor,  Civil and Environmental Engineering



  • 617.373.3995

Research Focus

Soft ground engineering, coastal adaptation, education and training for engineers and scientists


  • Sc.D., Civil Engineering, M.I.T., 1991
  • M.S., Civil Engineering, M.I.T., 1988
  • B.S., Civil Engineering, Union College, 1981


  • Professional Engineer: California (retired) and Massachusetts

Honors & Awards

  • 2022 Tau Beta Pi Superior Service Award
  • 2021 Northeastern University Outstanding Service Award
  • 2019 Northeastern College of Engineering Dean’s Meritorious Service Award
  • 2011 “Students Speak” Teaching Award
  • 2009 Northeastern College of Engineering Dean’s Meritorious Service Award
  • 2009 ASTM Committee D-18, Special Service Award
  • 2008 ASTM Committee on Publications, Certificate of Appreciation
  • 2007 Tau Beta Pi National Capers and Marion McDonald Mentoring Award
  • 2006 Transportation Research Board, Certificate of Appreciation
  • 2004 Fellow, American Society of Civil Engineers
  • 2003-2005, 2007-2009 ASCE student chapter co-advisor, National Certificates of Commendation
  • 2003 ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Eng’g Certificate of Appreciation
  • 2001 ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Eng’g Editorial Board Member Exemplary Service Award
  • 2001 Bright Idea Award, Professional Organizational and Development Network in Higher Education (for Jonas Chalk columns)
  • 1999-2003 Member, Master Teacher Team, G.E. Fund Learning Excellence Initiative
  • 1997 Northeastern College of Engineering Teaching Award
  • 1986-1989 National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship
  • 1984 Dept. of Defense Joint Service Commendation Medal
  • 1984 Member, unit receiving Dept. of the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal

Professional Affiliations

  • Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
  • American Society of Civil Engineers
  • American Society for Engineering Education
  • American Society for Testing and Materials
  • Chi Epsilon, Civil Engineering Honor Society
  • Sigma Xi, Research Honor Society
  • Tau Beta Pi, Engineering Honor Society

Research Overview

Soft ground engineering, coastal adaptation, education and training for engineers and scientists

Selected Research Projects

  • Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT)
    • – Training Core Leader, National Institutes of Health
  • Research Opportunities for Undergraduates: Training in Environmental Health Sciences (ROUTES)
    • – Principal Investigator, National Institutes of Health

Selected Publications

  • Holtz RD, Kovacs WD, and Sheahan TC. An Introduction to Geotechnical Engineering, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice-Hall, 844 pp. 3rd Edition (2023)
  • P.K. Judge, J.A. Buxton, T.C. Sheahan, E.M. Hamin-Infield Teaching across Disciplines: A Case Study of a Project- Based Short Course to Teach Holistic Coastal Adaptation Design, Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 2020
  • E. Hamin, Y. Abunnasr, M.R. Dilthey, P. Judge, M. Kenney, P. Kirshen, T.C. Sheahan, D.J. DeGroot, R.L. Ryan, B. McAdoo, L. Nurse, J. Buxton, E. Roper, E. Albright, M. Buchanan, A. Marielos Marin, R. Fricke Pathways to Coastal Resiliency: The Adaptation Gradients Framework, Sustainability, 2018
  • D. Meric, A.N. Alshawabkeh, J.P. Shine, T.C. Sheahan Bioavailability of Hydrophobic Organic Compounds in Thin-Layered Sediments, Chemosphere, 103, 2014, 281-289
  • D. Cheney, L. Rajicb, E. Sly, D. Meric, T.C. Sheahan Uptake of PCBs Contained in Marine Sediments by the Green Macroalga Ulva Rigida, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 88(1-2), 2014, 207-214
  • R.D. Holtz, W.D. Kovacs, T.C. Sheahan, An Introduction to Geotechnical Engineering, 2nd Edition, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice-Hall, 2011


Apr 19, 2023

Mishac Yegian Retires After 47 Years of Meritorious Service and Leadership

After nearly five decades of service as a professor and researcher at Northeastern University, College of Engineering Distinguished Professor Mishac Yegian will be retiring in the summer of 2023. His tenure at Northeastern covered 47 years in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, which he also led as Department Chair for a seventeen-year period.


Sep 15, 2022

Sheahan Publishes 3rd Ed. of An Introduction to Geotechnical Engineering

Executive Vice Provost and CEE Professor Thomas Sheahan published the 3rd edition of “An Introduction to Geotechnical Engineering.” The book, also featured in the ASCE Geostrata magazine, focuses on both the fundamental and applied, covering the engineering classification, behavior, and properties of soils necessary for the design and construction of foundations and earth structures.

photo of Akram Alshawabkeh outside


Mar 23, 2020

PROTECT Research Center: Continuing a Bold Mission for Environmental Health

This week, the PROTECT multidisciplinary and multi-institutional research center, led by Akram Alshawabkeh, Director of PROTECT, and Snell Professor of Engineering and Senior Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education, was awarded a five-year $10.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue and expand its work. This next phase of PROTECT research will include the study of an additional 1,000 pregnant women and look at a mixture of chemicals beyond the initial two suspect chemical classes.


Apr 29, 2019

Faculty and Staff Awards 2019

Congratulations to all the winners of the faculty and staff awards, and to everyone for their hard work and dedication during the 2018-2019 academic school year. See Photo Gallery Faculty Fellow Matthew Eckelman, CEE Yongmin Liu, MIE Outstanding Teacher of First Year Engineering Students Joseph Depasquale, Chemistry Brian O’Connell, FYE Sumi Seo, Mathematics Matthew Webber, […]


Sep 12, 2018

$13.2M NIH Award for Environmental Influences of Child Health Outcomes in Puerto Rico

CEE Professor Akram Alshawabkeh has been awarded $13.2M over five years from the National Institutes of Health to lead a renewal of the multi-institutional and interdisciplinary research project, entitled, “Environmental Influences of Child Health Outcomes in Puerto Rico (ECHO-PRO).

Sep 30, 2015

SAGE featured in ASCE Civil Engineering

CEE Professor Thomas Sheahan and his colleagues in Sustainable Adaptive Gradients in the Coastal Environment (SAGE) were featured in the ASCE Civil Engineering Magazine for "Coastal Protection Efforts to Benefit From Research Network, ‘Living Shoreline’ Database".

Mar 28, 2014

Learning from Tragedy

After the recent landslide in Washington, CIV professor & Senior Associate Dean Thomas Sheahan discusses what causes a mudslide and possible preventative measures. What is the anatomy of a landslide, and what factors increase their likelihood?   There are many types of landslides, but the one that occurred in Washington state appears to be a […]


Apr 04, 2012

FY13 TIER 1 Award Recipients

27 COE faculty and affiliates were recipients of FY13 TIER 1 Interdisciplinary Research Seed Grants for 21 different research projects.

Aug 18, 2011

Prof. Sheahan Discusses Ground Failures in the Big Dig

Tom Sheahan, Professor and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, discussed the ground-freezing process used for Big Dig construction and whether it caused a sinkhole to form beneath Boston's tunnels.

Apr 11, 2011

Six Faculty Named 2010 Outstanding Teachers of the College of Engineering

Congratulations to the following faculty, who were identified by our students as Outstanding Teachers of the College of Engineering for 2010: Dionisio Bernal, Daniel Dulaski, Philip Larese-Casanova, Thomas Sheahan, Ming Wang, and Mishac Yegian.

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