In this study, the effect of steel plates with shear studs used in the weak column-strong beam connections was investigated both experimentally and analytically. Five RC specimens were tested under cyclic loading in the experimental programme. Steel plates with shear studs in the column were used along the connection area. The specimens were derived from the exterior joint of a frame. As the main parameters, the width of shear stud heads and their spacing on the steel plates were changed to investigate their effects on the weak column. The test results confirmed that shear studs improved the strength and stiffness of the specimens. The control specimen collapsed because of joint failure, while the other four specimens collapsed because of bending at the bottom of the beam showing ductile behaviour. The comparison of experimental results with the analytical results obtained from ANSYS finite element programme showed similar outputs from the aspects of behaviour. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.