In oil and gas industries, submerged arc welding is the only primarily used process to weld high thickness, large distance structural oil pipes. Welding process parameters play a significant role in determining the quality of a weld joint in submerged arc welding. In the present work, an attempt has been made to optimize the weld bead parameters: weld bead form factor, dilution, microhardness and diffusible hydrogen content for welding of structural pipe steel (API 5L X65 grade) by desirability function approach used by Derringer and Harrington. For design of experiments, response surface methodology had been used. Mathematical models for output responses had been developed in terms of welding parameters and checked for adequacy using t-test and analysis of variance (F-test). It was found that welding current was the most significant parameter controlling all the responses, and arc voltage had increasing effect on all the responses except microhardness. © IMechE 2013.