Time to Doctoral Degree: Box Plots in Qlik Sense

Iryna Johnson
Associate Director for Analytics, Office of IR
Auburn University

This visual display explores time to doctoral degrees across different fields of study and degree types at matriculation. A user can manipulate (1) college and department at graduation and (2) college, department, and degree type at matriculation. Time to degree is the number of years that elapsed between the first date of a student’s first semester of enrollment at a graduate or professional level and graduation date, regardless of whether a student was continuously enrolled during this period.

The box plot is a display of a distribution of data based on the five number summary: minimum, first quartile, median, third quartile, and maximum. Because time to degree might have unusually high maximums, the whisker on the higher side is taken to 1.5 times inter-quartile range (IQR) from the third quartile as opposed to a maximum. Individual outlying data points are displayed as circles. Unusually low minimums, on the other hand, are less likely. Hence, the whisker on the lower side corresponds to the minimum years to degree.

Based on the box plot below, the median time to degree for doctoral degree recipients in selected program(s) is 4.33. The minimum time to degree completion is 2.71. Two outliers took 10.9 and 11.3 years to complete their doctoral degrees. The middle 50% of doctoral degree recipients in selected program(s) completed their degrees within 3.96 to 5.71 years.


The visual display shown below (see larger PDF image ) includes box plots of years to degree for selected programs for the past five academic years as well as the box plot for combined five years of data. A user can also view the number of degrees conferred and median times to degrees in selected programs, which are provided in tables to the left of the visual display. When a user hovers the cursor over the box-plot, Qlik Sense displays five-number summaries. When a user hovers the cursor over outliers, Qlik Sense displays their values. In addition to time to degree, the visual display at a study institution includes box plots that explore time to comprehensive finals.




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