Initiation of meiosis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is regulated by mating type and nutritional conditions that restrict meiosis to diploid cells grown under starvation conditions. Specifically, meiosis occurs in MATa/MATalpha cells shifted to nitrogen depletion media in the absence of glucose and the presence of a nonfermentable carbon source. These conditions lead to the expression and activation of Ime 1, the master regulator of meiosis. IME1 encodes a transcriptional activator recruited to promoters of early meiosis-specific genes by association with the DNA-binding protein, Ume6. Under vegetative growth conditions these genes are silent due to recruitment of the Sin3/Rpd3 histone deacetylase and Isw2 chromatin remodeling complexes by Ume6. Transcription of these meiotic genes occurs following histone acetylation by Gcn5. Expression of the early genes promote entry into the meiotic cycle, as they include genes required for premeiotic DNA synthesis, synapsis of homologous chromosomes, and meiotic recombination. Two of the early meiosis specific genes, a transcriptional activator, Ndt80, and a CDK2 homologue, Ime2, are required for the transcription of middle meiosis-specific genes that are involved with nuclear division and spore formation. Spore maturation depends on late genes whose expression is indirectly dependent on Ime1, Ime2, and Ndt80. Finally, phosphorylation of Imel by Ime2 leads to its degradation, and consequently to shutting down of the meiotic transcriptional cascade. This review is focusing on the regulation of gene expression governing initiation and progression through meiosis.