A finite element formulation for the analysis of fiber reinforced laminated shell structures is presented. The element adopted is a doubly curved 8-node shell element. Shear deformation and coupling terms between bending and extension are included in the formulation. Numerical characteristics of the element with respect to mesh size are checked for a plate with various boundary conditions and a pinched cylinder. Also degeneracy due to thinness of a pinched cylinder is examined. The developed element has demonstrated its applicability by showing the effect of anisotropy on the hoop stress and the displacements for a laminated composite cylinder and the effect of material properties and boundary conditions on the stresses. In addition to the stress analysis, a routine for the interactive first-ply failure load of combined internal pressure and axial tension for some laminated cylinders is also developed.