An improved stiffness model is proposed for bolted joints made of similar and dissimilar plates. A novel approach is used to obtain an expression for the effective area used for determining the joint stiffness. More accurate estimate of the joint stiffness provides a more reliable prediction of the joint behavior both during its initial assembly, as well as under subsequently applied tensile loads in service. The effect of the grip length-to-diameter ratio, joint sizes, underhead contact radii ratio, hole clearance, and plate material/thickness ratio are investigated. Experimental data are used for determining the envelope angle in the proposed analytical model. Finite element modeling is used for evaluating the accuracy of the proposed stiffness model.