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There is a revival of the interest in adjoint sensitivity analysis techniques. This is partly because current computer-aided-design software based on full-wave electromagnetic (EM) solvers remains too slow for the purposes of practical high-frequency structure design despite the increasing capacity of computers. The adjoint-variable methods for design sensitivity analysis offer computational speed and accuracy. They can be used for efficient gradient-based optimization, in tolerance and yield analysis. Adjoint-based sensitivity analysis for circuits has been well studied and extensively covered in the microwave literature. In comparison, sensitivities with full-wave analysis techniques have attracted little attention, and there have been few applications into feasible and versatile algorithms. We review adjoint-variable methods used in high-frequency structure design with both circuit analysis techniques and full-wave EM analysis techniques. A brief discussion on adjoint-based sensitivity analysis for nonlinear dynamic systems is also included.