Block shear is a potential failure mode that is encountered in the connection regions of coped steel beams. Limited experimental studies completed so far have shown that the block shear failure in coped steel beams is a complex phenomenon, which is highly dependent on the number of bolt lines. In this paper, the use of the finite element method in predicting the block shear failure load was studied by making comparisons with experimental findings. The effects of numerical modeling details on load capacity predictions were investigated. In light of these investigations, a finite element analysis methodology has been developed and used to conduct a parametric study. Simplified load capacity prediction equations were developed based on the results of the parametric study and are presented herein. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.