This article presents a literature review of existing research on the strong column–weak beam design philosophy, which has been widely adopted in the seismic design of frame structures. A comprehensive review of this design philosophy, including its concept and research history, especially factors affecting the accurate calculation of the flexural capacity of beams (Formula presented.) and the determination of the column-to-beam flexural strength ratio (Formula presented.), is presented first. The development of design provisions of four representative countries for this design philosophy is also reviewed. The implementation of strong column–weak beam hierarchy in real structural design is then discussed, and existing problems are pointed out. Finally, different techniques for the seismic retrofit of existing reinforced concrete frames are reviewed.