Intended for healthcare professionals

BMJ Student

Write for BMJ Student

We invite medical students and newly qualified doctors to submit pitches for articles on issues related to medical student life, career planning, and education.

You can also become a reviewer for Student articles – more information here.

Contact the editor at studenteditor@bmj.com.

How to write for BMJ Student

We only consider articles that have been pitched first. For Life and Careers articles, fill in the Student pitch form. For Education articles, see the instructions under Article Types.

The pitch forms give us the information to decide whether to encourage the article. If we like your idea, we will give you more information and invite you to submit a first draft with a declaration of interests form. We aim to respond to pitches within a month.

We do not accept:
• Articles on rare diseases
• Dissertations, essays, or reflections
• Elective reports
• Original research
• Reviews of products
• Reviews of new drugs or therapies

We aim to read new submissions within a month. Your article may undergo peer review from students or clinicians, depending on its content. Peer review can take weeks to months.

If we are interested in publication, editors will ask you to make changes. The article may need to be revised multiple times before it is accepted for publication. There is no guarantee of publication and the editor reserves the right to reject articles at any stage, even if this view does not match the views of advisers or reviewers.

Most articles are published within two months of acceptance. Student content is published online all year round, and we publish a printed magazine in September, aimed at freshers.

Tips for getting an article accepted

• Consider topics from our topic list
• Check that we haven't published something similar in the last two years
• Make it clear why the subject is relevant to medical students, and what the message is. What will medical students do or think about differently after reading your article?
• Write in a balanced way for Life and Careers articles (exploring the topic from multiple angles, including pros and cons)
• Consider short interviews with students, doctors, or others with relative experience or expertise for Life and Careers articles
• Write as you speak in simple, direct English, and explain specialist terms
• Ask your peers or an expert to review your idea before submission

Article types

Life (between 750 and 1250 words)
A feature that looks at a topical or controversial issue in studying or practising medicine from multiple angles and explains what students need to know, or explains how to make the most of a clinical placement or another part of medical school. Authors should interview and quote key people involved, such as first hand witnesses or experts from organisations linked to the topic. Life articles should have a practical takeaway where possible. More technical topics might need an expert co-author. Facts need referencing. For further advice on writing a Life article, read How to write a good feature.

Previous articles include: Reporting racism on the wards, How to make the most of your paediatrics placement, and What you should know about the 1500 increase in medical school places.

Opinion (between 650 and 800 words)
The best Opinion articles make a single strong, novel, and well argued point. They are also often topical, insightful, and attention grabbing. Make sure that what you write is fair and based on verifiable facts.

Previous examples include: Patient feedback should be at the heart of the e–portfolio, My experience of being a patient on a psychiatric ward, and Medical schools aren’t preparing doctors to serve trans and non-binary people.

People (up to 650 words)
A Q&A format of 6-8 questions that aims to understand the motivations, challenges and views of students, doctors, other healthcare professionals, or patients. Interviewees may be: students who have achieved something extraordinary; doctors who have had an unusual career; or, patients who have a condition that you may learn about at medical school (patient consent is essential). Submit a pitch including a minimum of eight questions before starting your interview.

Previous examples include: Interview with a play specialist, An interview with Dr Ranj, and Living with facial palsy.

Careers (up to 1300 words)
These articles explain ways to boost your CVs, tips for electives, and what you need to know as a final year medical student applying for and starting the UK foundation programme. More technical topics might need an expert co-author.

Previous articles include: How to write a medical case report, What type of insurance do you need for your elective?, and The situational judgement test.

Education
Education articles aimed at medical students are processed by The BMJ’s Education team. Instructions for article types and pitch submission here.

We particularly encourage medical students and newly qualified doctors as lead or co-authors for these article types:
• Essentials – an article that covers the basics that all doctors ought to know, and may be particularly useful for training clinicians and students. Students must write with a clinician who has completed their specialty training (a consultant or a GP), and may include other trainees, healthcare professionals and patients. See previously published articles here and here
• Image-focused article types: Endgames and Minerva. Patient consent is essential

Other important information

Requirements for all articles can be found here, including patient consent.