Damage initiation and accumulation has been monitored through acoustic emission (AE) in several center-notched unidirectional metal matrix composites (MMC) and multidirectional boron/aluminum (B/A1) laminates subjected to uniaxial quasi-static tensile loading. Emphasis has been placed on establishing the correlation between the actual damage initiation and growth and AE results. The correspondence between failure processes in the different material systems and the event intensities was investigated, and the results on the event amplitudes are reported. Effect of heat treatment on the failure process and on the associated emission in unidirectional and quasi-isotropic B/Al laminates has also been studied. Notch-tip damage growth was monitored in real-time through optical observations, and effective notch-tip damage extension was determined by applying the compliance matching procedure. Fracture surface morphology was examined via the scanning electron microscope. It is shown that the failure processes in the different material systems can be correlated with the AE event amplitudes. The results indicate that an excellent correlation can be established between the rate of damage growth and the AE results. Thus, it is concluded that AE technique can monitor damage formation and accumulation in MMC in real-time.