For authors

There are several ways to get involved as a writer for the BSR:

  1. Choose your own story, or one from our idea list, and send a pitch to (see below for more information on submitting a pitch). We look for new magazine writers in June and December of each year.
  2. Write for our blog—no pitch needed, just email
  3. Suggest a story for somebody else to write. We’re happy to hear your ideas!

Authors should be UC Berkeley students, postdocs, or affiliates, and all proposed topics for the magazine must have a Berkeley connection—please also check our archive of previous issues to make sure we haven’t published a similar story already in the past several years.  We encourage writers to pick topics outside of their own research scope!

For more general information about science writing, take a look at these writing suggestions or this crash course in science reporting.


If you would like to write for the Berkeley Science Review magazine, the first step is to send us a short query letter (a pitch). The pitch should be about one page long and should sell your article. Tell us why your story is interesting and timely, the Berkeley angle, and whom you plan on interviewing. Be specific about what you plan to do and let your personality come through in your writing style. Click here to see a sample proposal. We like to see queries that are well thought-out and compelling, but if you have a more vague idea you can send that in as well. Please be sure to submit pitches by the deadline for the current issue.

We will let you know within a few weeks of submission whether your story has been selected for the next issue. If your story is selected, you’ll be assigned an editor who will discuss possible directions for the piece, recommend resources, and generally act as a helpful guide and vigilant proofreader. You, along with your editor, will work on re-writes and drafts of the article.

Article Styles and Formats

Submissions should be accessible to the intelligent and motivated non-expert. When writing your article, consider whether your readers will find it comprehensible, informative, and fun to read. If you have a great idea that doesn’t fall into one of these categories, feel free to get in touch with us as well.  We’re always looking for new, innovative writers and content.


Features cover progress in a field or other broader aspect of science at Berkeley beyond the scope of a single finding or organization. Features should be 4-6 double-spaced pages in 12 point font, not including images  (2000-4000 words).

Current briefs

Briefs should be no more than two double-spaced pages in 12 point font with 1-2 images (550-750 words), and cover a recent exciting scientific advance at Berkeley or some other aspect of science policy or education associated with the university.


Labscopes consist of a short (150-200 words) paragraph of text accompanying and explaining a particularly striking image, which is the main focus of the piece. Writing a labscope is a great way for an author with limited time to commit to get involved.

From the Field

From the Field articles feature exciting work going on “in the field” (loosely interpreted) and are meant to illuminate experiences from the author’s own perspective. In the past topics have ranged from field research to exciting conference experiences to working the beat as a science writer.  We encourage you to be creative!

Faculty profiles

Interview your favorite Berkeley professor and write up a profile of the faculty member and their research. (Note: Starting with the Spring 2020 issue, the format of faculty profiles will be different from previous issues).

Book reviews

These may be about a book written by a Cal faculty or student in the last two years. We prefer that you do not review textbooks or collections of edited papers. Length should be about two double spaced, 12-point font pages with no images (800 words).

What we don’t want submitted

Essays about the trials, tribulations, and joys of graduate student life. Gossip about your advisor or labmates. Poetry.


The Berkeley Science Review, a non-profit publication, is granted one-time print rights, perpetual electronic publishing rights, and the right to unlimited promotional use of all material (text, photography, or art) submitted for publication. These materials will not be used in any other way, or reprinted elsewhere, without the express permission of the author.

By submitting material to the Berkeley Science Review, you affirm that you are the author, creator or copyright owner of this material, and that you have the legal authority to give the Berkeley Science Review the rights and permissions described above. The Berkeley Science Review will not be held responsible for fraudulently submitted or plagiarised material.