The conventional finite element formulation for the dynamic analysis of composite beams could not adequately and appropriately represent the influence of boundary conditions on the dynamic response of beams. In addition, the discretization necessary for achieving an acceptable level of accuracy in the determination of dynamic response parameters leads to more discontinuities in the force resultants at nodal points, and hence affects significantly the stresses in individual layers. An improved formulation that involves efficient basis functions has been developed in the present work in order to overcome this problem. The effects of variable thickness on the dynamic response parameters are modeled through the corresponding changes in the bending stiffness of the laminate. The efficiency of the formulation and the basis functions is demonstrated.