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Here, the dynamic response characteristics of thick cross-ply laminated composite cylindricalshells are studied using a higher-order displacement model. The formulation accounts for the nonlinearvariation of the in-plane and transverse displacements through the thickness, and abrupt discontinuity inslope of the in-plane displacements at any interface. The effect of inplane and rotary inertia terms isincluded. The analysis is carried out using finite element approach. The influences of various terms in thehigher-order displacement field on the free vibrations, and transient dynamic response characteristics ofcylindrical composite shells subjected to thermal and mechanical loads are analyzed.