This paper provides a comprehensive review of theories and frameworks for understanding and managing human dimensions of tidal energy. The methods for this review were: 1) the construction of an annotated bibliography of the human dimensions of marine renewable energy literature, 2) an analytical review of the core theories and frameworks found in the literature as applied to tidal energy development in the United States, and 3) an iterative process of conceptual refinement through peer review. Only 48.9% of the articles in the literature review included a theoretical underpinning, or discussed an existing framework. Of these, 42.2% were theories or frameworks that were only featured in a single paper, highlighting the need for theoretical focus within this field of study. For those theories and frameworks that had been explored in multiple articles, these theories and frameworks were grouped into nine overarching concepts: acceptance, place attachment, justice, economics, technology innovation systems, environmental assessment, strategic environmental assessment, adaptive management, and marine spatial planning (MSP). Each of these concepts were expounded on to discuss the limitations of the current research on the concept and identify promising avenues for future research. In comparing the functionality of these concepts, most have a realized capacity for understanding costs and benefits, risk and uncertainty. However less than half have a realized capacity for managing costs and benefits and risk, while less than a third have a realized capacity for managing uncertainty. This paper offers a summary table of existing theories and frameworks that could be used as a launching point for detailing a research agenda for more systematically exploring theories and frameworks for human dimensions of tidal energy.