Most programs of study at Polk State College (PSC) lead to an associate's degree or a certificate. Students with an associate's degree can further pursue a Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management, and students with an associate's degree in nursing can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Vocational certificates are also awarded in specific technical areas. Associate degree programs require a minimum of 60 credit hours. However, some associate in science and associate in applied science programs require more than 60 credit hours. In each of these programs, the specific length conforms to the state-mandated standards. The Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management degree and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree require 120 semester credit hours, which includes up to 60 credits earned in the associate degree program. In addition to college credit courses, PSC provides courses designed to strengthen the academic background of students needing additional preparation before entering college-level courses. These college preparatory courses are in the areas of English, reading, and mathematics. Students are placed in these courses based on their scores on standardized placement tests.
The purpose of the General Education curriculum is to provide PSC students with varied opportunities to integrate knowledge, skills, attitudes, and experiences essential for their success in higher learning, and for their personal, academic, and professional enrichment. Subject matter and instructional methods are designed to develop the communication ability, scientific and quantitative skills, critical thinking ability, and information literacy skills essential for students to become well-educated citizens capable of participating fully, effectively, and productively in a global community. In addition, General Education courses provide students with a sense of diversity in culture, ethics, and social responsibility.
At the completion of the General Education core requirements, the student earning an AA degree from PSC will meet the following outcomes:
Demonstrate the ability to read, write, speak, and listen effectively, utilizing standard English.
- Critical Thinking
Demonstrate the ability to reflect on, analyze, synthesize, and apply information through problem solving.
- Scientific and Quantitative Reasoning
Apply mathematical and scientific principles and methods to solve abstract and real-world problems.
- Information Literacy
Demonstrate the ability to access, evaluate, incorporate, organize, and document information.
Demonstrate an ability to work with diverse people and show respect for their values, ideas, rights, and backgrounds.
Demonstrate knowledge of global cultural influences.
Identify and describe ethical principles and their application.
- Social Responsibility
Understand behaviors that lead to personal, social, and professional responsibility.
Polk State College Honors Program
The Polk State College Honors Program is designed for highly motivated and talented students who wish to be challenged by an intellectually stimulating academic program of study. Students applying for the Honors Program must have demonstrated, through their academic pursuits, an ability to achieve excellence. Honors courses are not regular courses with additional work; instead they provide alternative approaches to learning that are student-centered and interactive, promoting creativity and global understanding. Honors courses are smaller in size, enabling students and faculty in each class to form a close-knit learning community.
Students must meet one of the following criteria to be admitted to the Honors Program:
- Attain a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher on a 4-point scale.*
- Achieve a combined SAT score of 1100 or higher on the Mathematics and Critical Reading sections.
- Achieve an ACT composite score of 25 or higher.
- Earn a college GPA of 3.2 or higher, excluding college preparatory courses.
- Achieve PERT scores of 120 or above on the writing section and 120 or above on reading section.
- Achieve College Placement Test (CPT) scores of 100 or above on the Sentence Skills section and 100 or above on the Reading section.
*NOTE: Once a student has registered and taken classes at Polk State College, the Polk State College GPA takes precedence; the student is required to have a total Polk State College GPA of 3.2 or higher.
Students must complete a minimum of 18 credit hours in courses with the Honors Program designation to graduate from the Honors Program.
For more information on the Polk State College Honors Program, please see an advisor at either campus or visit the Honors Program website at www.polk.edu/honors.
Associate in Science and Associate in Applied Science Degrees and Certificate Programs
The primary purpose of the Associate in Science (AS) and the Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree programs, as well as the certificate programs is to prepare students for employment in specific occupational/technical fields. To differing extents, all three programs prepare students for additional education. Both AS and AAS programs contain a general education component along with program-specific core courses. The AS program option for a specific program differs from the AAS option in the same program only in its General Education requirements. The AS degree program option includes a General Education component that consists of courses capable of transfer to many colleges and universities. Many AS programs are designed to articulate directly with State University System programs. Additionally, all AS and AAS programs qualify students to apply for admission to Polk State College’s Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Supervision and Management. AS and AAS graduates who transfer to a public four-year institution in Florida or pursue PSC’s BAS program are required to take additional General Education courses to earn a bachelor’s degree. Students should refer to specific institutional requirements for more information.
The Academic Dean under which a program is offered is authorized to make appropriate and necessary substitutions in a student’s program; however, General Education requirements may not be reduced, and in most cases cannot be changed. PSC may change the requirements of an occupational program to keep pace with changes in the occupational field for which the program is designed. Consequently, the College may change or discontinue a program. In the event of such a change, the College makes every effort to ensure currently enrolled students an efficient transition and completion of the selected program.
AS and AAS General Education Requirements
Students must successfully complete the General Education requirements listed in each program or program option. Specific course requirements are listed for each program or program option.
NOTE: In AS and AAS programs where a requirement is designated as an area elective (example: science elective), students should refer to the courses listed under AA General Education Requirements to determine the course(s) that meet the requirement.
Limited Admission AS, AAS, and Certificate Programs
There are additional admission requirements for limited admission programs including the Nursing, Paramedic, Radiography, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Physical Therapist Assistant, Health Information Management, Cardiovascular Technology, Respiratory Care, Diagnostic Medical Sonography, and Medical Coding Specialist programs. These additional requirements are indicated in the specific program descriptions. Application for admission to a limited admission program is a separate application process from the procedure for general admission to the College. Specific application requirements can be found in the program descriptions in this catalog. Additional information is available from academic advisors.
Please note that some limited admission programs may require Level II background screening, which includes fingerprinting, as well as a background check by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Furthermore, students may be denied admission to the program based on the results of this background screening.
Finally, prospective students should be aware that a Social Security Number (SSN) is required for an individual to be issued a certificate or license by the Florida Department of Health, which is the licensing authority for healthcare licenses in Florida. Individuals applying for admission to a Polk State College healthcare program should either have a Social Security Number or have started the application process for a number prior to admission.
Applied Technology Diploma
An Applied Technology Diploma (ATD) is a program of study of fewer than 60 credits that consists of courses that are part of an associate degree program (AS or AAS). This program of study leads to employment in a specific occupational field.
A College Credit Certificate is a program of study of fewer than 60 credits that consists of part of the courses that lead to an associate’s degree (AS or AAS). This program of study leads to employment in a specific occupational field.
A Vocational Certificate is a program of study of vocational courses that leads to employment in a specific occupational field.
The Kenneth C. Thompson Institute of Public Safety
The Kenneth C. Thompson Institute of Public Safety (KCTIPS) provides a professional curriculum in several educational programs for law enforcement, corrections, and correctional probation officers. Courses are designed to train officers to deliver the highest quality of service to all citizens. The curriculum is the result of a partnership between the Institute of Public Safety, the Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, as well as local, regional, and state agencies. Located on the Winter Haven Campus, KCTIPS facilities include five classrooms, a defensive tactics room, and an administration area. The training center also shares the facilities of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Training Center and the Lakeland Police Training Center for firearms and vehicle operations training. The Kenneth C. Thompson Institute of Public Safety’s web page on Polk State College’s website at www.ips.polk.edu provides contact and registration information.
Certificate programs are taught at the postsecondary adult vocational (PSAV) level and equivalency of training programs are taught at the nondegree level. For every 30 clock hours spent in class, a student can expect 7-8 hours of study outside the classroom in all Institute of Public Safety PSAV programs.
Reserve Officer Training Corps
Polk State College and Florida Southern College (FSC) are partners in a cross-enrollment program that provides Polk State College students with the opportunity of participating in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program offered through FSC's Department of Military Science. Students take courses at a Polk State College or FSC campus. Credit earned in these courses becomes part of the student’s permanent record.
Students taking ROTC courses during their first two years of college incur no service obligation. Qualifying students can apply for two- and three-year Army ROTC scholarships that pay for tuition, books, materials, fees, and a $100 stipend per month. Two-year scholarship recipients receive free room and board if they transfer to Florida Southern College for their junior and senior years. Students interested in ROTC programs should enroll in an AA program leading to a degree in their chosen field. ROTC scholarship qualifications include a 2.5 GPA and other criteria determined by the ROTC Cadet Command. For more information, students should contact the ROTC Enrollment Officer at Florida Southern College in person, or by phone at 863-680-4241.
The Linkage System is a cooperative agreement among five community colleges in the Tampa Bay Area: Hillsborough Community College, State College of Florida at Manatee-Sarasota, Pasco-Hernando Community College, Polk State College, and St. Petersburg College. Polk State College also has a linkage agreement with Valencia Community College for Dental Hygiene. The linkage program offers Polk State College students the opportunity to enter identified programs on a quota-based system at other colleges. Some courses appropriate to the respective programs may be taken at Polk State College. Students who have been selected for admission to a Linkage Program at a college out of their district are required to conform to all program requirements, policies, and procedures of the linkage college, which is the degree-granting institution.
Additional information on the Linkage Program may be obtained by contacting a PSC academic advisor.
Note: Application deadlines vary by program; a student should work with a PSC advisor as soon as he or she decides to pursue a Linkage Program.
Linkage Programs are as follows:
Hillsborough Community College:
Nuclear Medicine Technology
Radiation Therapy Technology
Pasco-Hernando Community College:
St. Petersburg College:
Valencia Community College:
Students from the other four linkage colleges (Hillsborough Community College, Pasco Hernando Community College, St. Petersburg College, and State College of Florida at Sarasota-Manatee) who wish to pursue an allied health program at PSC through the Linkage Agreement can select from the following PSC programs (as long as the program does not exist at their home college):
Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Occupational Therapy Assistant
Physical Therapist Assistant
For more information, students should contact an academic advisor at their home college about the Linkage Program.