Carbon fiber reinforced polymers has been widely used in all kind of the industries. However the internal defects can result in the change of material or mechanical properties, and cause safety problem. In this study, step-heating thermography is employed to measure the time series temperature distribution of composite plate. The principle of heat conduction in a flat plate with defect inside is introduced. A temperature separation criterion to determine the depth of defect inside the specimen is obtained experimentally. Applying this criterion to CFRP specimens with embedded defects, the depth of embedded defect in CFRP can be determined quite well from the time series thermograms obtained experimentally.