An analytical procedure which affords the precise amino acid composition of a protein or a peptide from a single hydrolysate is described. This method utilizes 4 N methanesulfonic acid containing 0.2% 3-(2-aminoethyl)indole, rather then 6N HCl as a catalyst for hydrolysis. The hydrolysis is carried out in vacuo (20 mu) at 115 degrees for 22 to 72 hours. Half-cystine is determined as S-sulfocysteine by treating the hydrolysate with dithiothreitol followed by an excess of tetrathionate. The values of all amino acids, including tryptophan and half-cystine, were close to the expected theoretical values for the proteins examined. The method has the advantage that the neutralized hydrolysate can be applied directly to an ion exchange column. Further, the method is capable of distinguishing between free sulfhydryl groups as S-carbosymethylcysteine and disulfides as S-sulfocysteine. A limitation of the procedure is that tryptophan remains sensitive to the presence of carbohydrate in the sample.