Particulate matter (PM) has become a major research issue receiving increasing attention because of its significant negative impact on human health. There are main indicators that next to the morphological characteristics of the particle, also the chemical composition plays an important role in the adverse health effects of PM. In this context, the rather polar organic fraction of PM is expected to play a major role, and advanced analytical techniques are developed to improve the knowledge on the molecular composition of this fraction. One component class that deserves major attention consists of the oxygenated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Those compounds are considered to be among the key compounds in PM toxicity. This paper presents a comprehensive review focusing on the analysis, fate and behavior of oxygenated PAHs in the atmosphere. The first part of the paper briefly introduces (i) the main sources and atmospheric pathways of oxygenated PAHs. (ii) available physical chemical properties and (iii) their health effects. The second and main part of this paper gives a thorough discussion on the entire analytical sequence necessary to identify and quantify oxygenated PAHs on atmospheric PM. Special attention is given to critical parameters and innovations related to (i) sampling, (ii) sample preparation including both extraction and clean-up, and (iii) separation and detection. Third, the state-of-the-art knowledge about the atmospheric occurrence of oxygenated PAHs is discussed, including an extended overview of reported concentrations presented as a function of sampling season and geographical location. A clear seasonal effect is observed with the median of the oxygenated PAHs concentrations during winter being a factor of 3-4 higher than during summer. However, the oxygenated PAH/parent PAH ratio is about 20 times higher during summer, indicating the importance of photochemical activity in the atmosphere.