In business- or management-speak, and FTE (“full-time equivalent”) is a way to map the work/effort that needs to happen onto person-sized units. If a project is going to require two FTEs (yeah, a tiny project!), one then could put two people to work on it, or four half-time folk, or, or.

There are some nuances in real life, like how it’s unrealistic to plan that 100% of any worker’s time would be devoted to a project (there’s always a little administrivia to be done), but for a quick sketch this works well enough.


My school has two long (normal) terms and two short terms, so Fall term & Spring term alternate with January term & Summer term.

January term is not even quite what it implies — rather than a month, four weeks, it’s two or three, depending on which class one takes.

I’m taking a two-week class.

Last night, as I was rapidly fading into sleep without having finished the reading due for today, I belatedly ran the calculations:

  • In grad school, a full-time course load is four classes. Using a 40-hour workweek as a baseline, each 3-credit* class then can be estimated to consume 10 hours per week.
  • A 3-credit class is considered this because there are three hours of lecture, discussion, or other classroom activity each week. Three “contact hours.”
  • Thus one can estimate an out-of-class workload of slightly more than twice the in-class time. That is, 3+(3*2)=9, which is mighty close to 10.
  • For “The Bible and the Hermeneutics of Ministry,” we have 3 hours of lecture/discussion per day, and meet each business day.
  • Thus each day of our Jan-term is a full week of a normal term.
  • Ergo, there’s likely 7 hours of home-work to do each day.

I’m not sorry I’m taking this class; it’s EXCELLENT and we’re only on Day Two. Professor Green is good stuff.

But dang. I wonder whether I’d’ve started lifting mental weights in December if I’d’ve paid attention!

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