This review covers recent progress in the discovery of selective glucocorticoid receptor (GR) antagonists. Potential therapeutic applications of selective GR antagonists are described including the pharmacological rationale and, in some cases, clinical evidence that underlies these proposed uses. Disease areas that are discussed are Cushings syndrome, psychotic depression, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimers disease, neuropathic pain, drug abuse, and glaucoma. Methods for evaluating GR antagonist properties (binding, functional, and in vivo assays) are briefly covered. Early research on steroidal ligands which led to the identification of the non-selective GR antagonist RU-486 (mifepristone) and the GR-selective steroid RU-43044 is reviewed as is subsequent work on related steroidal compounds. Structure activity relationships (SAR) of nonsteroidal GR antagonists from the following structural classes are presented: octahydrophenanthrenes, spirocyclic dihydropyridines, triphenylmethanes and diaryl ethers, chromenes, dibenzyl anilines, dihydroisoquinolines, pyrimidinediones, azadecalins, and aryl pyrazolo azadecalins.