Policies & Standards

Millions of people visit UCSF websites each month, and it's our responsibility to provide a high-quality online experience that reflects UCSF's high quality of care, research and education. Websites are one of the most visible expressions of the UCSF brand, and the inclusion of standard elements on each website lends credibility and strength to our messages.

UCSF web identity standards help a user immediately distinguish official UCSF sites from unofficial sites. Policies and standards must be followed by all official UCSF websites to ensure security, privacy and usability for all our visitors.

If you have questions on these policies and standards, please contact Jill Wolters, UCSF Web Standards Program Manager, at [email protected].

Official UCSF Websites

Official websites are those that represent UCSF programs and contain content targeted at external and internal audiences. Examples include but are not limited to: schools, administrative and academic departments, research labs, academic programs, organized research units, institutes, centers, faculty practices, and UCSF Health and all of its organizational components.

Officials websites must be:

  1. Authorized by the head of the department or unit;
  2. registered with the UCSF A-Z Websites List;
  3. have a domain name ending with either “ucsf.edu” or “ucsfhealth.org,” and
  4. in compliance with these UCSF website policies and standards.

Intranets are accessible only to a defined group of the UCSF community (e.g. UCSF Medical Center or the School of Medicine). Access to these sites is controlled through IP filters or UCSF Single Sign On (MyAccess). Intranets provide administrative or unit-specific information and are not meant for external users or audiences. They are also considered official UCSF websites, although they do not appear on the UCSF A-Z Websites List.

If a website is being hosted on UCSF servers or using a UCSF domain name, they are subject to all existing laws and university and campus policies.

Non-official Websites

Non-official websites include those that are not authorized by the head of the department or unit that it seeks to represent, those that reflect the owner’s personal interests, such as blogs, and collaborative sites, for example, with other universities.

Any site hosted on a University server may not be used to promote personal business or to provide personal financial gain, except as permitted under applicable academic personnel policies.

Non-official websites:

  • Are not included on the UCSF A-Z Website List;
  • may not have official UCSF domain names (ucsf.edu or ucsfhealth.org) nor have a UCSF-related domain name (e.g. ucsfwebsites.org);
  • may not display the UCSF logo or web banner;
  • must have an explicit disclaimer, unless it is clear from the context that the author is not representing the University. The minimum disclaimer is: “This is not an official UCSF website. The opinions or statements expressed herein should not be taken as a position of or endorsement by the University of California, San Francisco.”

If a website is being hosted on a non-UCSF 3rd party hosting company, such as SquareSpace, WiX, or DreamHost, accessibility and security is still your responsibility. After an evaluation of a simple site created in SquareSpace, accessible pages may be created in SquareSpace with an understanding of accessibility. If you have any questions about the accessibility of your content, please request a digital accessibility consultation

UCSF Policies


UCSF website policies are overseen by the Committee on Communications Technology (CCT), formerly known as the Committee on Website Governance, part of the IT Governance structure at UCSF. Proposed additions or changes must be approved by CCT.

UCSF website brand standards are determined by the Office of Communications. Questions regarding brand standards should be directed to [email protected].


The University of California is committed to providing an electronic environment that is accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities, and adopted the systemwide UC Information Technology Accessibility Policy in August 2013. The policy requires compliance with the WCAG 2.0 level AA standards for all web-based information.

Learn more about web accessibility guidelines at UCSF

Domain Name

Domain Names are the Internet addresses used to find specific website destinations and other online services. As the gateway to UCSF’s online presence, Domain Names can be an important part of the University’s identity and marketing efforts. Official UCSF websites have domains that end in "ucsf.edu" or "ucsfhealth.org."

UCSF has a comprehensive policy designed to:

  • Ensure users a high-quality online experience by preventing security breaches and damage to UCSF’s reputation.
  • Facilitate management of subdomain names, which are a limited resource within the University.
  • Provide a basis for resolving any dispute that may arise.

Learn more about UCSF's domain name policy


All UCSF websites must meet minimum security standards, as outlined by UCSF Information Technology Services. For more information, visit IT Application and Website Security. For most websites that contain only public data your website software must be patched with security updates within 21 days of the patch being released.

Required Website Elements

screenshot of a UCSF website


All official UCSF webpages must include, in the title field of the HTML or other generated code, the name of the University, either in its correct and preferred usage in all caps (no periods, no spaces) – UCSF – or as the full, expanded version – University of California, San Francisco (with an initial cap for all words except “of”).

The name may be used either before or after the specific page title content, set off with a space, a dash or a colon as preferred. Another alternative is to use “at UCSF” or “at University of California, San Francisco” after the specific page title.

Some examples:

  • <title>UCSF Online Campus Directory</title>
  • <title>Inside Student Guide – UCSF</title>
  • <title>University of California, San Francisco | Campus Life Services</title>

Color Palette

All UCSF websites must be designed around the interactive color palette for font treatments to ensure digital accessibility.

For guidance on color palette usage, as well as rules around using tints, refer to the Color page on the Brand Identity website.


For live text elements on official UCSF websites, Helvetica Neue Roman is the preferred font for body text. Granjon Roman or Helvetica Neue Light should be used for headlines and titles. If Helvetica Neue and Granjon are unavailable for your website, substitute fonts are Arial Regular and Garamond Regular for headlines.

For further guidance on use of web typography, refer to the Typography page on the Brand Identity website.


Web Banner

Use of a standard UCSF web banner is required for all official UCSF webpages, and includes:

  • The full "University of California, San Francisco" name with a link to the flagship UCSF.edu website;
  • a link to the "About UCSF" overview page;
  • a link to the "Search UCSF" page; and
  • a link to the UCSF Medical Center.

The standard web banner is available in five colors. A customizable version of the banner is available for developers. Specifications for the design and placement of the web banner can be found on the Brand Identity website.


All official UCSF webpages must include the UCSF logo. Websites should display the school, department, or unit name in a lock-up with the UCSF logo in the top left corner of the page.

Select logo lock-ups are available on the UCSF Digital Asset Database. If your logo is unavailable, do not create your own. Instead, please request a logo lock-up by emailing [email protected]. Note: UCSF does not allow the use of unofficial or custom-designed logos on UCSF websites or other materials. 

For further guidance on website logo usage, go to the Brand Identity website.


The required footer elements are shown in the screenshot below and contain the copyright statement plus links to Contact Us, Accessibility, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and the A-Z Website List. Site Builder customers have the footer hard coded with one exception: the Contact Us link remains hidden until manually configured by the site owner; for how-to instructions please reference the Footer FAQ.

screenshot of the footer with the required elements


All official UCSF websites must include a copyright notice referencing the Regents of the University of California, typically included in the footer.

The three required elements of this copyright notice are:

  1. the word “copyright” or the copyright symbol ©, but not both;
  2. the year, which may be a single year or a range, and which for actively maintained sites should always be updated with the current year; and
  3. the phrase “The Regents of the University of California.” The phrase “All rights reserved” is not necessary, as it is implicit in the copyright notice. No punctuation is required.

Some examples:

  • Copyright 2022 The Regents of the University of California
  • © 2022 The Regents of the University of California

Contact Us

All official UCSF webpages must include contact information to report issues to the website owner. At a minimum, a contact page or an email address must be available.


Link to the Accessibility resources page that supports the UCSF Website Accessibility Standard with information and links to:

  1. the governing policies and UCSF standards,
  2. a means for UCSF website users to report accessibility issues, and
  3. the non-compliance resolution process.

Privacy Policy

Link to the Privacy Policy that describes how UCSF collects, uses, and shares UCSF website user data.

Terms of Use

Link to the Terms of Use page to protect UCSF’s legal interests in regard to content on Official UCSF websites.

A-Z Website List

Link to the A-Z Website List to boost SEO for the entire UCSF website ecosystem.

Other Elements

UC Seal

Use of the UC seal is restricted to official UCSF webpages, and even there should be incorporated only selectively as a background graphic, if at all. For most official UCSF webpages, in fact, use of the UC seal is not recommended. The primary graphic identity affiliation should be to UCSF rather than to the UC system as a whole, and accomplished through inclusion of one of the required standard banners.


The use of the UCSF tagline signature, advancing health worldwide, is exclusively reserved for the UCSF main website (www.ucsf.edu). It is not to be used as a design element on any subdomains, in the banner element or elsewhere. Use of the tagline is permitted within the text content of the website.