Understanding the human dimensions of marine hydrokinetic (MHK) energies is essential to ensure the viability and sustainability of MHK energy projects. However, these have received little attention in scientific research. Given the diversity of political, and socio-economic settings where MHK energy projects can be applied, place-based information is likely to be most useful in designing and implementing initiatives, along with guiding principles that assure best practice. This study reviews the literature on human dimensions of MHK energies to explore gaps and challenges to be tackled in future research. While peer-reviewed literature on the human dimensions of MHK energies is growing, it is dominated by studies in developed high income countries. Research on human dimensions of MHK energies has focused on public perceptions and social acceptability, public conflicts, stakeholder participation and community cost and benefits. Three methodologies dominated the analysis of data: qualitative approaches, descriptive and inference statistics and mapping tools. Empirical studies performed in sites where MHK energy projects are planned or ongoing were scarce. Given that a great deal of MHK energy projects are occurring globally in developed and developing countries, the research gaps we identified present a number of risks. Scientific research on human dimensions of MHK should diversify, both methodologically and geographically addressing real world applications, in order to support the successful design and implementation of these energies.