Programmed cell death is the most common fate of female germ cells in Drosophila and many animals. In Drosophila, oocytes form in individual egg chambers that are supported by germline nurse cells and surrounded by somatic follicle cells. As oogenesis proceeds, 15 nurse cells die for every oocyte that is produced. In addition to this developmentally regulated cell death, groups of germ cells or entire egg chambers may be induced to undergo apoptosis in response to starvation or other insults. Recent findings suggest that these different types of cell death involve distinct genetic pathways. This review focuses on progress towards elucidating the molecular mechanisms acting during programmed cell death in Drosophila oogenesis.