A shear deformable finite element is developed for the buckling analysis of laminated composite plates. The finite element formulation is based on Mindlin's theory in which shear correction factors are derived from the exact expressions for orthotropic materials. A variety of problems on uniaxial and shear bucklings of laminated composite plates are solved. The effects of material properties, plate aspect ratio, length-to-thickness ratio, number of layers and lamination angle on the buckling loads of symmetrically and antisymmetrically laminated composite plates are investigated. Optimal lamination arrangements of layers for maximizing the buckling loads of the plates are determined.