Joule heating is inevitable when an electric field is applied across a conducting medium. It would impose limitations on the performance of electrokinetic microfluidic devices. This article presents a 3-D mathematical model for Joule heating and its effects on the EOF and electrophoretic transport of solutes in microfluidic channels. The governing equations were numerically solved using the finite-volume method. Experiments were carried out to investigate the Joule heating associated phenomena and to verify the numerical models. A rhodamine B-based thermometry technique was employed to measure the solution temperature distributions in microfluidic channels. The microparticle image velocimetry technique was used to measure the velocity profiles of EOF under the influence of Joule heating. The numerical solutions were compared with experimental results, and reasonable agreement was found. It is found that with the presence of Joule heating, the EOF velocity deviates from its normal "plug-like" profile. The numerical simulations show that Joule heating not only accelerates the sample transport but also distorts the shape of the sample band.