Wall shear stress (WSS) is an important mediator of cardiovascular pathologies and there is a need for its reliable evaluation as a potential prognostic indicator. The purpose of this work was to develop a method that quantifies WSS from two-dimensional (2D) phase contrast magnetic resonance (PCMR) imaging derived flow waveforms, apply this method to PCMR data acquired in the abdominal aorta of healthy volunteers, and to compare PCMR-derived WSS values to values predicted from a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation. The method uses PCMR-derived flow versus time waveforms constrained by the Womersley solution for pulsatile flow in a cylindrical tube. The method was evaluated for sensitivity to input parameters, intrastudy repeatability and was compared with results from a patient-specific CFD simulation. 2D-PCMR data were acquired in the aortas of healthy men (n = 12) and women (n = 15) and time-averaged WSS (TAWSS) was compared. Agreement was observed when comparing TAWSS between CFD and the PCMR flow-based method with a correlation coefficient of 0.88 (CFD: 15.0 ± 1.9 versus MRI: 13.5 ± 2.4 dyn/cm2) though comparison of WSS values between the PCMR-based method and CFD predictions indicate that the PCMR method underestimated instantaneous WSS by 3.7 ± 7.6 dyn/cm2. We found no significant difference in TAWSS magnitude between the sexes; 8.19 ± 2.25 versus 8.07 ± 1.71 dyn/cm2, p = 0.16 for men and women, respectively.