Three-dimensional finite element model of a bolted joint has been developed in the non-linear finite element code MSC.Marc and attempts were made to validate it by comparing results with those of experiments and other finite element. Issues in modeling the contact between the joint parts, which affect the accuracy and efficiency of the model, were presented. Experimental measurements of surface strains and load transfer ratio(LTR) were compared with results from finite element analysis. The results show that three-dimensional finite element model of bolted joint can produce results in close agreement with experiment. Three-dimensional effects such as bolt titling, seconding and through-thickness variations in stress and strain are well represented by such models. Three-dimensional finite element analysis was also used to study the effects of different parameters on the mechanical behaviour of single lap bolted joints. The results show that straight hole, small bolt diameter, and big hole pitch are selected first for bolted joint if other conditions allowed, and effect of bolt material on LTR of joint is small for small load. Interference and pre-stress should be strictly controlled for bolted joints in order to attain the best fatigue capability of lap joint.