Precise control of composition and microstructure is critical for the production of (BaxSr1−x)Ti1+yO3+z (BST) dielectric thin films with the large dependence of permittivity on electric field, low losses, and high electrical breakdown fields that are required for successful integration of BST into tunable high-frequency devices. Here, we present results on composition-microstructure-electrical property relationships for polycrystalline BST films produced by magnetron-sputter deposition, that are appropriate for microwave and millimeter-wave applications such as varactors and frequency triplers. Films with controlled compositions were grown from a stoichiometric Ba0.5Sr0.5TiO3 target by control of the background processing gas pressure. It was determined that the (Ba+Sr)/Ti ratios of these BST films could be adjusted from 0.73 to 0.98 by changing the total (Ar+O2) process pressure, while the O2/Ar ratio did not strongly affect the metal ion composition. Film crystalline structure and dielectric properties as a function of the (Ba+Sr)/Ti ratio are discussed. Optimized BST films yielded capacitors with low dielectric losses (0.0047), among the best reported for sputtered BST, while still maintaining tunabilities suitable for device applications. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.