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Graduation Requirements for PhD Students

Each PhD student must complete 41 graduate credits of course work and complete their PhD thesis under the supervision of an assigned professor.

  • 27 credits in nine core courses
  • 2 credits for the preparatory course
  • 12 credits for four elective courses

Course Type

Course Name

Preparatory Course (2 credits)

Mathematics for Economics

Core Courses (27 credits)

Intermediate Microeconomics

Intermediate Microeconomics

Intermediate Macroeconomics

Intermediate Econometrics

Advanced Microeconomics I

Advanced Macroeconomics I

Advanced Econometrics I

Advanced Microeconomics II

Advanced Macroeconomics II

Advanced Econometrics II

Elective Courses (12 credits)

Chinese Economy

Economic History

Development Economics

International Macroeconomics

Behavioral Finance

Economic History of the Western World

Economics of Institutions and Organizations

International Trade

Time Series Analysis

International Relationships

Total Required Credits

41 credits

Grading System

Passing Grade is 68 points.

All courses with less than 68 points will be marked with F for "Failure" in official transcripts. 

Centesimal System


100 - 90


89 - 85


84 - 82


81 - 78


77 - 75


74 - 72


71 - 68


PhD Thesis


The following text is a summary of the main regulations regarding the thesis defense of international PhD candidates of the school of economics at Henan University. It serves for information purposes only. In case of discrepancy, the Chinese original (学位与研究生教育文件汇编)  will prevail.

Regulations for international students will follow the same procedure with the domestic students (with minor adjustments). The school of economics reserves the right to make changes at any time without prior notice.

Thesis Proposal

PhD students need to submit a thesis proposal in their fourth semester by March 1st and defend the thesis proposal in front of a committee composed of 3 professors (his/her supervisor plus two other professors). The thesis proposal presentation will be scheduled for mid-March. If students fail the thesis proposal, they have a second chance to submit the revised written proposal by June 15th and defend their revised proposal roughly two weeks later. If students fail the thesis proposal for the second time, they need to leave the PhD program.

PhD students who fail the thesis proposal, but pass all the required courses can write a master thesis instead and (if successful) receive a master degree. However, all required courses and the master thesis need to be completed within three years.

Thesis Content

PhD students have to write a thesis comprised of at least two chapters that are each based on one or more research papers. The papers have to be clearly distinct and showcase the ability of the student to apply different methodologies to economic problems. While coauthorship is possible, papers can only be part of one thesis (i.e. the same paper can never be part of two thesis even if coauthored by two PhD students).

For any coauthored paper clear evidence of the students contribution has to be provided. Papers where the contribution of the student is minor cannot be considered as part of the thesis. At least one paper needs to be single authored. Students are encouraged but not required to have one "flagship" paper to serve as job market paper.

The total thesis need to be no less than 50,000 words (excluding references).

The following professors are PhD supervisors for theses written in English:

  • SONG Bingtao (Research Areas: Economic Development, Regional Economics, Economic History) E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
  • Makram EL-SHAGI (Research Areas: Applied Macroeconomics, Econometrics) E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • DONG Baomin (Research Area: International Trade, Industrial Organization, Economic History) E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If the international students Chinese language skills are very high, he or she can also write their thesis in Chinese. Please contact the administration office for a list of all supervisors for theses written in Chinese.

If the PhD students research proposal matches more with the research of an associate professor, he or she can write their thesis under twin supervision of the associate professor together with one of the above listed professors.

Please Note: It is not necessary to find a supervisor to receive a PhD degree, however, we strongly advice to search for a supervisor for guidance.


Step 1 – Supervisors approval

The PhD candidate can start the PhD application process when his/her supervisor confirms that the candidate´s thesis is well written and ready to be submitted. The supervisor needs to sign the “Approval form to apply for a PhD degree”.


Step 2 - Document submission / Plagiarism check

The PhD candidate needs to submit his/her thesis electronically together with the approval letter of his/her supervisor to the international office of the school of economics, who will then submit it to the graduate school of Henan University.

The graduate school will check the thesis for plagiarism in two ways:

  • Excluding self-citations: The thesis plagiarism percentage needs to be ≤ 15% when self-citations are excluded. If the plagiarism percentage is >15 % and ≤ 30%, the PhD candidate needs to revise the thesis no shorter than 2 weeks and the thesis will be checked again after revision. If the plagiarism percentage is higher than 30%, the PhD application process will stop. The student will be given the opportunity to apply again next semester.
  • Including self-citations: The plagiarism percentage needs to be ≤ 30%.

In case of approval by the graduate school of Henan University, the thesis will be sent to the PhD Thesis Defense committee (short: PhD committee) at least one week before the preliminary thesis defense.


Step 3 – PhD Committee

The PhD Committee consists of 5-7 members (it needs to be an odd number),  all of them are external committee members, which should be from other institutions. All committee members need to be PhD supervisors themselves, one chair will be announced.


Step 4 - Preliminary Thesis Defense

The PhD candidate defends the thesis in front of the PhD Committee. The preliminary thesis defense is scheduled to last between 90 and 120 minutes, the PhD candidate will be given 40 minutes to present his research results followed by discussion. The preliminary thesis defense can have three possible outcomes: minor revision, major revision, and not qualified. If the committee suggests minor revision, the PhD candidate needs to revise the thesis and can continue in the PhD application process. If the committee suggests major revision, the candidate will be given up to two weeks to revise his or her thesis and needs to redo the preliminary thesis defense. If the committee agrees that the candidate is not qualified, the PhD application process will stop. The candidate will have the chance to reapply in the following academic year.


Step 5 – External Referees

After a positive vote of the PhD committee, the thesis will be sent to 3 external referees by the graduate school through an online review platform. The referees are asked to evaluate the PhD candidate´s thesis by giving one of the following grades: A, B, C, D (A being the best, D being the worst). The graduate school will receive the referee reports and inform the PhD candidate and the supervisor about the result. The candidate fails the external review, if two referees grade “C” or one referee grades “D”.  If the applicants fail the online review standard set by graduate school, the application process stops automatically, and the candidate has to try again 6 months later.


Step 6 – Final Thesis Defense

The last step is the final oral thesis in front of the PhD committee (identical with the preliminary thesis defense) and the candidate´s supervisor. The PhD candidate presents the main research results of his/her thesis for 40 minutes. The PhD committee members will then ask questions which the candidate has to answer immediately. The PhD committee will vote by secret ballot after careful deliberation. The candidate passes the thesis defense if 2/3 of the committee members approve. The result will be written down and signed by the PhD committee´s chair as well as all members. The PhD candidate´s supervisor cannot participate in the vote. The PhD committee chair will announce the result and submit it to the relevant committee´s of Henan university – namely校学位评定委员会 and建设牵头单位学位评定分委员会.