This paper discusses the development of a model of laser transmission welding that can be used as an analytical design tool. Currently the majority of laser transmission welding (LTW) applications rely on trial and error to develop appropriate process parameters. A more rigorous design approach is not commonly used primarily due to the complexity of laser welding, where small material or process parameter changes can greatly affect the weld quality. The model developed in this paper also enables optimizing operating parameters while providing monetary and time saving benefits. The model is created from first principles of heat transfer and utilizes contact conduction that is a function of temperature and pressure, Gaussian laser distribution, and many material properties that vary with temperature including the absorption coefficient. The model is demonstrated through a design example of a joint between two polyvinyl chloride parts. The model is then validated with samples welded with a diode laser system using the operating parameters developed in a design example. Using the weld width as the primary output, the error between the model and the experimental results is 4.3%, demonstrating the accuracy of the model.