We present a simple and efficient method for the analysis of shear flexible isotropic and orthotropic composite shells. Classical thin shell constitutive equations used in the explicit finite element code EPSA to model homogenous isotropic shells using "through-the-thickness-integration" and layered orthotropic composite shells [1–3,5] are modified to account for transverse shear deformation. This effect is important in the analysis of thick plates and shells as well as composite laminates, where interlaminar effects matter. Transverse shear stresses are calculated using a linear normal strain distribution, where first the shear forces are calculated and then the stresses are calculated by means of the generalized section properties, i.e., first and second moments of area. The formulation is a generalization of the analytical method of analyzing composite beams. It is simple and computationally inexpensive, and it yields accurate results without employing higher order displacement interpolations. In the case of isotropic shells, the transverse shear stresses are distributed parabolically, based on the assumption of linear normal strain distribution through the thickness and on application of the quadratic shape function to transverse shear strains. The transverse shear stresses are included in the elastic-perfectly plastic yield function of the Huber-Mises-Hencky type.