Web Address / URL Guide & Subdomain Protocol

Your sites's URL is its address on the web. Here's help making it descriptive and succinct.

Your site’s web address – called its URL – takes visitors to your homepage. Websites officially identified with Washington University in St. Louis have wustl.edu web addresses.

Depending on how your site is created, its URL will be either a wustl.edu subdirectory (sites.wustl.edu/yoursite) or subdomain (yoursite.wustl.edu).

Examples of Washington University web addresses include:

  • sites.wustl.edu/publichealthsciences
  • sites.wustl.edu/schafferlab
  • diversity.med.wustl.edu
  • whitecoat.wustl.edu

These URLs are all on subdomains of the parent domain wustl.edu, which lends each site the credibility of a .edu domain, as well as a clear relationship to Washington University. The wustl.edu domain automatically associates your site with a reputable institution and provides a consistent and predictable experience across Washington University websites.

Vanity URLs

In addition to your site’s actual URL, you may have (or request) a vanity URL that redirects to the actual web address. A vanity URL may be warranted if your actual URL is long or difficult to spell or pronounce, if your site moved from one domain to another, or if your site begins with sites.wustl.edu/yoursite and you want a more succinct URL to publicize.

Truncating a “Sites” URL
Actual: sites.wustl.edu/yoursite
Vanity: yoursite.wustl.edu

Simplifying a long or difficult URL
Actual: contraceptivechoice.wustl.edu
Vanity: c3.wustl.edu

Requesting a subdomain or vanity URL

Subdomains can be created for select websites related to Washington University. Whether or not a site is permitted to have its own subdomain is subject to the discretion of University Marketing & Communications and WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications and cannot be guaranteed.

The subdomain guidelines below promote consistency and clarity amongst School of Medicine site URLs. Please follow these guidelines when requesting a new subdomain.

Your guide to URLs

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The general rule

Your site’s address should be short and recognizable, consisting of a known keyword, proper name, abbreviation or acronym.

  • Honor your group’s official name, but shorten or abbreviate it as much as possible without risking recognizability
    • Drop office ofprogram in, project, center, proper names, etc.
    • Use abbreviations or acronyms that are recognizable for your target audience (e.g., PT for physical therapy)
    • Avoid acronyms that are not widely known
  • Make the address easy to read and understand in URL form; this typically means limiting phrases to two words (e.g., medicalalumni.wustl.edu instead of medicalalumnianddevelopment.wustl.edu)
  • Include the keywords your target audience might use to look for your site on Google and other search engines; though the URL is a minor ranking factor for search engine optimization / SEO, the URL is displayed on the search results page and is therefore a key indicator for users deciding if they want to click through
  • Avoid hyphens, underscores or other characters
  • If your site is related to medical education, or if your group has a parallel office at the university level, see below for additional URL conventions


  • sites.wustl.edu/psychiatry
    Department of Psychiatry
  • sites.wustl.edu/lymphaticmetabolism
    Laboratory of Lymphatic Biology and Metabolism
  • pt.wustl.edu
    Program in Physical Therapy
  • sleep.wustl.edu
    Sleep Medicine Center
  • genome.wustl.edu
    McDonnell Genome Institute

Medical education (MD) program sites

To clarify offices and sites that are specific to the medical education program rather than the entire School of Medicine, include MD at the beginning of URL or path.



  • MDadmissions.wustl.edu
  • MDdiversity.wustl.edu
  • sites.wustl.edu/MDstudentaffairs

The MD convention is not to be used in conjunction with .med as described below. While MD refers to offices and services specific to the medical education program, .med is for school-wide offices or services.

Offices and programs that have parallel services at the university level

If your group provides services parallel to those provided by groups on the Danforth Campus, include .med as shown below to logically distinguish your office’s site from the Danforth office’s site.



  • facilities.med.wustl.edu
  • publicaffairs.med.wustl.edu
  • diversity.med.wustl.edu

Registering additional URLs

In compliance with the university’s domain name policy, all sites related to Washington University, including the School of Medicine or Washington University Physicians, must use the wustl.edu domain name. 

After consultation with and approval from WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications, some groups may register additional web addresses in the university’s name on non-wustl.edu domains.

Request an additional URL »