Displacement-based isoparametric finite elements are developed and applied to problems of thick and thin laminated composite plates and shells. Transverse shear deformation, material anisotropy, and bending-extensional coupling are accounted for. Curvature and lamination parameters may vary smoothly or discontinuously. These elements have been implemented in the NISA finite element program and several example problems are discussed. A method for calculating the exact distribution of transverse (interlaminar) shear stresses in composite laminates is discussed and an example problem is solved using the present elements. Agreement with an exact solution is excellent.