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A theoretical model is presented for low-frequency magnetoelectric (ME) effects in bilayers of magnetostrictive and piezoelectric phases. An approach is proposed for the consideration of actual boundary conditions at the interface. An averaging method is used to estimate effective material parameters. The model predicts the strongest ME effect in cobalt ferrite-lead zirconate titanate (PZT) among ferrite based composites. The ME voltage coefficient for transverse field orientation is estimated to be 25–50% higher than for the longitudinal case. Comparison with data for multilayer samples reveals poor interface coupling in cobalt ferrite-PZT and ideal coupling in nickel ferrite-PZT. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.