Autophagy is a cellular homeostatic program for the turnover of cellular organelles and proteins, in which double-membraned vesicles (autophagosomes) sequester cytoplasmic cargos, which are subsequently delivered to the lysosome for degradation. Emerging evidence implicates autophagy as an important modulator of human disease. Macroautophagy and selective autophagy (e.g., mitophagy, aggrephagy) can influence cellular processes, including cell death, inflammation, and immune responses, and thereby exert both adaptive and maladaptive roles in disease pathogenesis. Autophagy has been implicated in acute kidney injury, which can arise in response to nephrotoxins, sepsis, and ischemia/reperfusion, and in chronic kidney diseases. The latter includes comorbidities of diabetes and recent evidence for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease–associated kidney injury. Roles of autophagy in polycystic kidney disease and kidney cancer have also been described. Targeting the autophagy pathway may have therapeutic benefit in the treatment of kidney disorders.