The ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) represents a major pathway for intracellular protein degradation. Proteasome dependent protein quality control participates in cell cycle, immune response and apoptosis. Therefore, the UPS is in focus of therapeutic investigations and the development of pharmaceutical agents. Detailed analyses on proteasome structure and function are the foundation for drug development and clinical studies. Proteomic approaches contributed significantly to our current knowledge in proteasome research. In particular, 2-DE has been essential in facilitating the development of current models on molecular composition and assembly of proteasome complexes. Furthermore, developments in MS enabled identification of UPS proteins and their PTMs at high accuracy and high-throughput. First results on global characterization of the UPS are also available. Although the UPS has been intensively investigated within the last two decades, its functional significance and contribution to the regulation of cell and tissue phenotypes remain to be explored. This review recapitulates a variety of applied proteomic approaches in proteasome exploration, and presents an overview of current technologies and their potential in driving further investigations.