Frequently Asked Questions


When is the registration period for the upcoming term?

For placement tests: From 13 June 2017
For courses beginning 25 September 2017: 27 June - 12 September 2017
All other courses: Two weeks prior to course start
Last day to drop a course: 29 September 2017
Deadline to drop specialised courses: 24 hours after the first class

How do I register?

For staff members, see the User Guide on how to register on Inspira. For non-staff members, see the User Guide on how to register on

When do classes start?

The next term begins on 25 September 2017 and ends the first week of December 2017. In order to enroll, you must register on Inspira.

What time do classes take place?

Classes are usually offered before work, at lunch time, or after work in each thirteen-week term.

Where are the classrooms located?

Our new United Nations Learning Centre is located at the 3rd basement of the General Assembly Building. (GA-3B)

Who can take these courses?

UN staff, retired UN staff members, and delegates of Permanent Missions and Observer States may take classes at no charge. Students' UN grounds pass must be valid until the end of the course(s) for which they will register. If it's not, to be allowed to register, students must attach a signed letter from their supervisor or executive officer when submitting their online registration, indicating that it is expected that their contract will be extended through the end of the course(s). Staff members of UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA and UNOPS in New York are eligible to take classes for a fee. If you are unsure if you can take our courses, please reference our eligibility table.

Where can I find information on placement tests?

More information on placement tests can be found here.

Where can I find information on web-based courses and language learning away from UNHQ?

Consult the Web - FAQs to get information about the growing list of web-based courses in the six languages, offered to all Secretariat staff members. Agencies, UN volunteers, interns or other affiliated bodies are not eligible for web-based courses.

What are the levels and the duration of language courses?

Regular courses are scheduled for languages from beginner (level 1) to advanced (level 8 or 9) and meet for 12 weeks for 3 hours each week. Semi-intensive or intensive courses meet for fewer weeks but for more hours each week.

How do I know my level?

If you are not sure of your 'level' in a language, you must take a placement test. Tests can be taken through registering on Inspira. No test is needed if you are an absolute beginner, a native speaker, or a high-level learner of the language who has a recent diploma or test score showing your proficiency in the language. If you fit one of these categories, please email the coordinator listed below of the language(s) you are interested in studying.

What are specialised courses?

Specialised courses are intended to develop specific cultural and professional skills in listening, speaking and interacting, reading or writing.

How many courses can I take?

During each term you may register for one or two courses - or up to three courses if two of them are 'short' (up to 36 total classroom hours). It’s possible to take a ‘level’ course in one language and a specialized course in another language in the same term. Normally it’s not possible to take a ‘level’ course in two different languages in the same term.

Which course is best for me?

Discuss course options with your supervisor and the coordinator of the lanuage you are interested in.

Who teaches the courses?

Teachers and coordinators for all six languages are recruited both locally and internationally and are highly qualified and experienced in the field of language teaching. All teachers and coordinators hold at least a Masters degree in applied linguistics (or related field) and have a minimum of 5 years of teaching experience.

May I attend class as an observer?

No. There is often a waiting list for our courses and we are unable to allow anyone who is not officially registered to sit in a class.

How much and how do I pay for courses (If I'm a paying student)?

If you are a paying student as per our eligibility table, the rates per course explains how to pay and how to do that.