This paper considers the application of the limit state philosophy of structural analysis to pipeline design. General aspects of the philosophy are discussed and the approach to the evaluation of safety factors is reviewed. The paper further considers the various limit and serviceability states which would be relevant to a pipeline and reviews the various factors which may require consideration, before a code embodying the limit state philosophy could be formulated. A review of the state of current knowledge on various aspects of geometry and material characteristics, loading and structural behavior is presented. It is intended that such a review can be used as the basis for a larger study to provide guidance and data for the evaluation of rational levels of safety factor. The major conclusion reached by the authors is that a limit state philosophy would be valuable in providing a suitable framework, which may highlight the significant aspects of pipeline design and which can most easily accommodate new requirements and results obtained from research.