We have studied intersubband transitions in InAs/AlSb quantum wells experimentally and theoretically. Experimentally, we performed polarization-resolved infrared absorption spectroscopy to measure intersubband absorption peak frequencies and linewidths as functions of temperature (from 4 K to room temperature) and quantum well width (from a few nm to 10 nm). To understand experimental results, we performed a self-consistent 8-band k·p band-structure calculation including spatial charge separation. Based on the calculated band structure, we developed a set of density matrix equations to compute TE and TM optical transitions self-consistently, including both interband and intersubband channels. This density matrix formalism is also ideal for the inclusion of various many-body effects, which are known to be important for intersubband transitions. Detailed comparison between experimental data and theoretical simulations is presented.