Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question you don’t see below? Contact WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications.

What is WordPress, and what is a web theme?

WordPress is an open source (and therefore free) content management system that allows people with no knowledge of HTML code to create and update a website. Its flexibility, frequent updates and ease of use make WordPress the platform of choice for most websites built by the marketing and communications teams at Washington University.

In WordPress, a theme is installed to customize a website’s layout, styles, functionality and other features. The same theme can be installed on multiple WordPress instances to achieve a family of websites that share a common look and features.

Why can’t I request a new WUSM Web Theme site?

As of August 2017, a new self-service web platform is available to campus partners across the university. WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications and University Marketing & Communications collaborated on the new WashU Web Theme. Our goal was to build a sustainable theme that meets high standards for usability and accessibility while also providing a flexible platform that you can make your own. Because we combined creative and technical resources, we are able to offer a more robust and flexible theme to our campus partners on the medical campus.

To request a new website, go to and click the red button at the bottom of the page. Within minutes, your new site will be ready for you to start adding content.

If I’m using the WUSM Web Theme, how do I migrate to the new theme?

We will share a migration plan with admins of WUSM Web Theme websites late in 2017 to guide you to the most efficient way to migrate your content into the new theme.

If I’m using the WUSM Web Theme, do I have to switch to the new theme?

Not yet. We will continue to support the WUSM Web Theme by fixing bugs and consulting with campus partners. However, we will not roll out any significant enhancements to the WUSM theme, and eventually it will be phased out.

We will contact WUSM Web Theme site admins when a phase-out date has been determined. As noted above, when the time comes we will also provide you a migration plan to help you transfer your content to the new theme as efficiently as possible.

How is the WUSM Web Theme different from a Tier 1 site?

“Tier 1” refers to the first generation of School of Medicine websites that were designed and built with common features to establish a consistent user experience for medical school sites. The WUSM Web Theme is the evolved version of features that were initially part of Tier 1.

To get a bit more technical, Tier 1 sites shared features that are now coded into the WUSM Web Theme. Because these features are built into the WordPress theme rather than built into independent websites that happen to look alike, all sites using the theme can benefit from future updates and enhancements. Learn more about the benefits of using the theme.

How do I add a Physicians logo or hospital co-brand to my WUSM Web Theme site?

Sites using the WUSM Web Theme that are specifically patient-focused will include the Washington University Physicians logo at the top instead of the School of Medicine logo. If a clinical group has a co-brand agreement with one of our hospital partners, the co-branded logo will appear at the bottom of the site in the footer.

Can I use my own logo?

All official communications should use an official and approved logo for Washington University School of Medicine or Washington University Physicians.

If your group has developed its own graphic mark to represent your office or center, please consult with WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications ( about its use. To avoid unnecessary expenditure and effort, it is preferable to consult WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications before developing a graphic, since only approved logos and brand marks may be used to represent the school, the university and their affiliated offices, departments and other business units. Learn more about logo use.

Can I hire an agency or freelancer to work on my WUSM Web Theme site?

Yes. If you use the WUSM Web Theme and host your site on the university’s servers, you may hire an approved digital vendor to help create your site. Assistance with your site may include building custom features, consulting on the site’s content strategy, writing copy, shooting photos, creating graphics and other strategic, technical or creative services.

The marketing and communications teams have rigorously vetted many local agencies and freelancers to identify vendors that produce quality work, understand the university’s reputation and branding guidelines, and respect the importance of information security, including HIPAA training and compliance.

Please contact WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications for a list of approved vendors or to discuss your project in detail.

If you select a vendor to build your site in the WUSM Web Theme, WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications will share the theme files with your project lead after the vendor has been contracted.

How do I update my site?

Your team is responsible for updating your site in WordPress; a WUSTL Key is necessary to log in.

To assist you with updating your site, the online User Guide provides tutorials and other web and brand standards. In addition, WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications can provide assistance as needed.

What if my off-campus partners need a WUSTL Key?

A WUSTL Key is required to log into any WUSM Web Theme site. Non-WashU team members, including contracted vendors and hospital partners, will need a WUSTL Key guest account. Please use the assistance request form to request a guest account.

Can I update my site if I’m off-campus?

It depends on if your site has launched or not.

To edit a test site, you must be using a computer connected to the Washington University Network. (The test site – e.g., – is where you load all of your site content and get it ready for a public launch.) In most cases, you are using the Washington University Network if you’ve connected to the Internet from a computer on any WashU campus.

To request off-campus access to a test site via a Virtual Private Network (VPN), please complete the assistance request form.

To edit a live site, you may log in from any Internet-connected computer, whether on-campus or off. (Your site is considered “live” or “public” after it has launched.)

Where do I get photos?

Images included on your site should follow the guidelines for School of Medicine photos and graphics. Learn more about requesting and finding photography on the WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications website.

What about videos?

Videos hosted on a third party site such as YouTube can easily be embedded onto any page of your site. Learn more about creating and embedding video.

Can I have my own social media accounts?

For intermittent social media posts, we recommend using the School of Medicine’s existing channels (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.). If your group manages its own social media account(s), they can be featured at the bottom of your site in the footer.

Please see the Social Media Guidelines for information about setting up and managing a social media account. #thankyouforasking