Adhesive bonding is a high-speed fastening technique which is suitable for joining advanced lightweight sheet materials that are dissimilar, coated and hard to weld. Major advances have been made in recent years in adhesive bonding technique. Latest literature relating to finite element analysis (FEA) of adhesively bonded single-lap joints (SLJs) is reviewed in this paper. The recent development in FEA of SLJs is described with particular reference to three major factors that influence the success of adhesive bonding technique: failure mechanism, environmental effects and mechanical behavior. The main FE methods used in FEA of SLJs are discussed and illustrated with brief case studies from the literature. Areas where further useful progress can be made are also identified.