Writers' Guidelines

Who we are

Stanford is published bimonthly (January, March, May, July, September and November) by the Stanford Alumni Association. It is mailed free to approximately 185,000 alumni, parents and friends of the University.

What we are about

Nurturing an intellectual and emotional connection between readers and the University.

How we go about it

Although not driven by subscriber numbers, our editorial approach is similar to that of a subscription-based commercial magazine. We do not assume that our magazine will be read and enjoyed simply because its recipients have an affiliation with Stanford. We strive to deliver a publication that is stylish, engaging and relevant, with demanding standards for writing, editing and design.

A few fundamentals

  • Every article in the magazine has some Stanford connection. These may be direct and obvious (a profile of a Stanford faculty member) or indirect and casual (the impact of a technology with Stanford origins).
  • We publish articles from a broad spectrum that includes contemporary research, public policy, higher education, medicine, science and technology, art and entertainment, history, humor and sports. We occasionally accept first-person essays or memoirs written by persons within the Stanford community—alumni, students, parents or faculty.
  • Feature writers we engage have significant experience (demonstrated by published clips), are skilled in research and interviewing, write with panache and vigor, and bring a collaborative and professional attitude to the editing process. No Stanford affiliation is required, but familiarity with the University is helpful.
  • We encourage writers with less experience to submit articles on spec, and occasionally invite them to write shorter pieces of 500 to 1,000 words.
  • With rare exceptions (usually excerpts from books or academic papers), we publish only original material. We do not publish reprints or slightly modified versions of earlier published articles.

Story pitches

  • We strongly encourage reading the magazine before submitting a query. We invite ideas on a broad range of subjects; of particular interest are stories about scientific innovations and their applications.
  • Queries should be sent via email to stanford.magazine@stanford.edu
  • All queries are considered. Notification usually occurs within four to six weeks.
  • Unsolicited manuscripts will not be returned unless accompanied by SASE.


  • Assignments are made by any of four editors on the staff, who work with writers early on to develop a strong central theme or thesis and an expected word count.
  • Typical feature lengths are 2,000 to 3,000 words. Typical department lengths are 500 to 1,200 words.
  • Depending on the complexity of the subject and logistical factors, deadlines for feature assignments range from four weeks to several months. Shorter pieces are typically due three to four weeks from the assignment date.
  • All writers must sign a standard University independent contractor's agreement.
  • We value respectful collaboration during both writing and editing. We prefer polished manuscripts to “first drafts,” with the understanding that revisions, additional research and some rewriting may be necessary. Writers will be consulted on revisions; they will not be consulted during copy fitting unless the changes are so significant that they require recasting entire sections.


  • We pay by the word. Rates vary according to writers' experience, article lengths, complexity of the subject matter and the amount of research required.
  • Payment is made upon acceptance, after revisions
  • Processing takes four to six weeks from the date of the request.

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