The fundamental frequencies of simply supported symmetrically laminated composite angle-ply plates with central circular holes with a given material system are maximized with respect to fibre orientations. The first-order shear deformation (FSDT) theory is used for finite element analysis. Modified feasible direction (MFD) method is used for the optimization routine. Also, the optimum fibre orientations are obtained using golden section (GS) method to compare with MFD method. Finally, the significant effects of different number of layers, boundary conditions, plate aspect ratios, hole diameter-to-width ratio, material anisotropy and antisymmetric lay-up on the results are demonstrated. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.