The residual stress that occurs in fiber-reinforced thermosetting composite materials during cure is one of the severe factors that can deteriorate the performance of composite structures. To investigate residual stresses occurring in laminated composites during cure, an incremental viscoelastic constitutive equation is derived as a function of temperature, degree of cure and chemical shrinkage. A finite element program is developed on the basis of a 3-D degenerated shell element and the first order shear deformation theory. Experiments were performed to measure the coefficients of chemical shrinkage of the Hercules AS4/3501-6 composite during cure. Residual strains were measured using strain gages during cure and compared with the results of finite element analysis. Good agreement is found between numerical and experimental results. It is found that the chemical shrinkage seriously affects the residual strains of the composite during cure.