Most programs of study at Polk State College lead to an associate's degree or a certificate. Polk State also offers the following baccalaureate degrees for students who hold applicable associate's degrees: the Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Supervision and Management, Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice, or Bachelor of Science (BS) in Aerospace Sciences. Additionally, students with an associate's degree in Nursing with current licensure as a registered nurse can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Polk State. College credit and vocational certificates are also awarded in specific technical areas. Associate degree programs require a minimum of 60 credit hours; however, some Polk State Associate in Science (AS) programs require more than 60 credit hours. In each of these programs, the specific length conforms to state-mandated standards. All baccalaureate degrees require 120 credit hours, which includes up to 60 credits earned in the associate degree program.
In addition to college credit courses, Polk State provides courses designed to strengthen the academic background of students needing additional preparation before entering college-level courses. These college Developmental Education courses are offered in the areas of writing, 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 Polk State College 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.
Through completion of the General Education core requirements, students earning AA degrees from Polk State College meet the outcomes described below.
Demonstrate the ability to read, write, speak, and listen effectively, utilizing standard English.
2. Critical Thinking
Demonstrate the ability to reflect on, analyze, synthesize, and apply information through problem solving.
3. Scientific and Quantitative Reasoning
Apply mathematical and scientific principles and methods to solve abstract and real-world problems.
4. Information Literacy
Demonstrate the ability to access, evaluate, incorporate, organize, and document information.
5. Global Socio-Cultural Responsibility
Demonstrate knowledge of global cultural influences, ethical principles, and social 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:
- Unweighted high school GPA of 3.5 or higher*
- Combined SAT score of 1100 (or higher) on the Mathematics and Critical Reading sections
- ACT composite score of 25 or higher
- Overall college GPA of 3.2 or higher
- PERT scores of 120 (or above) on both the Writing section and Reading section
*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 and graduate from Polk State College with a GPA of 3.2 or higher to complete the requirements of the Honors Program.
More information on the Polk State College Honors Program can be provided by an advisor or can be obtained through the Honors Program website.
Global Studies Program
The Polk State College Global Studies Program is designed to provide multicultural and transnational educational opportunities and experiences for Polk State students living and working in an increasingly globally-connected society. The Global Studies Program is designed to develop students' subject area knowledge about global issues in diverse academic fields. Through designated courses, study-abroad opportunities, lecture series, and other components, the Global Studies Program increases Polk State students' awareness and understanding of the personal and professional experiences of individuals across the globe.
Students must complete a minimum of 15 credit hours in designated global studies courses, attend three Global Initiatives presentations or cultural events while enrolled in the program, complete a synthesis project, and develop a global resume and portfolio.
More information on the Polk State Global Studies Program can be provided by an advisor or can be obtained through the Global Initiatives website.
Study Abroad Program
The Study Abroad Program prepares students for the global workforce through the development of perspectives and skills that employers seek, such as cross-cultural awareness, critical thinking, and problem solving.
Polk State offers opportunities throughout the year for students to study abroad while earning college credits on faculty-led, short-term activities. Students can also gain valuable international workplace experience through credit-based internships. More information can be obtained through the study abroad section of the Polk State website.
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 and program-specific core courses. The General Education component 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 programs qualify students to apply for admission to Polk State College's Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Supervision and Management, Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, and Bachelor of Aerospace Sciences (Aerospace Administration) degree programs. AS and AAS graduates who transfer to public four-year institutions in Florida or pursue Polk State's baccalaureate programs are required to take additional General Education courses to earn bachelor's degrees. 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. Polk State College 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.
Note: In AS and AAS programs where a General Education requirement allows for any approved General Education course in that area (example: science elective), students should refer to the courses listed under AA General Education Requirements to determine the course(s) that meet the requirement.
Internships for Course Credit
Polk State College's Internship Coordinator provides assistance to students interested in pursuing an internship while at the College. Some internships are associated with course credit. The following AS and baccalaureate programs offer an internship course as a requirement or as an elective: Aerospace, Business Administration (AS), Computer Network Engineering, Computer Systems and Business Analysis, Criminal Justice (AS only), Digital Media Technology, Early Childhood Education, Engineering Technology, Supervision and Management (BAS), and Supply Chain Management. Polk State's health science programs (e.g., Nursing and Physical Therapy Assistant programs) have a clinical sequence required as part of their curriculum. The information below refers only to internship and practicum experiences in non-health science AS and baccalaureate programs:
- Internship and/or practicum courses are taken in the student's last and/or next-to-last term before completion of the program.
- The student must be enrolled in the internship course during the same term as the internship experience.
- The student must have an internship placement confirmed by the final day of the Drop/Add period, or he or she must drop the internship course in order to prevent earning an Incomplete grade.
- If the assignments, hours, or some other aspect of internship obligations are insufficient at the end of the term, the student earns a grade of Incomplete and must complete the requirements satisfactorily in the subsequent term in order to earn a passing grade.
- Some internship courses require the Program Director's approval for registration.
- Not all internship courses are available each term.
- Internships may be paid or unpaid; however, all internships comply with Department of Labor's Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) criteria.
- Each student must check the specific program of study regarding the details of course credit internships.
Associate in Arts students can enroll in SLS 2941 Internship: Professional Experience and Organizational Culture if they seek to earn college credit for an internship experience.
For more information, students should review the Internship section of the Polk State College website.
Directed Independent Study
Directed Independent Study (DIS), sometimes referred to as Independent Study, may be offered (based on specific criteria and faculty availability) to assist a student in completing a course when extenuating circumstances prevent him or her from taking the course in a traditional format. Directed Independent Study provides one-to-one instruction in the course material. The student works independently on assignments and tasks provided by the professor, who oversees, teaches, or directs the student through the material.
Limited Admission AS and Certificate Programs
There are additional admission requirements for limited admission programs including the Nursing, Paramedic, Radiography, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Physical Therapist Assistant, Cardiovascular Technology, Respiratory Care, and Diagnostic Medical Sonography 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.
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's 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 within courses that are part of an associate's degree program (AS or AAS). This program of study leads to employment in a specific occupational field.
Advanced Technical Certificates
An Advanced Technical Certificate is a program of career and technical courses consisting of 9 to 45 credits. Students must have completed an associate degree program to enroll in an advanced technical certificate program. The certificate program provides specialized instruction that extends knowledge acquired from the associate's degree.
A Vocational Certificate is a program of study of vocational courses. This certificate 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, the 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 the Polk State College website provides contact and registration information.
Certificate programs are taught at the Postsecondary Adult Vocational (PSAV) level, and Equivalency of Training (EOT) courses are taught at the non-degree 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 program courses.
Army Officer Training Corps (ROTC)
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 Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Program offered through FSC's Department of Military Science. Students take courses at the 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, and fees, and also provide a monthly stipend (Freshmen receive $300, and this amount culminates to $500 during the senior year). Scholarship recipients receive free room and board if they transfer to either Florida Southern College or Southeastern University. A student interested in the ROTC program should enroll in an AA program leading to a degree in his or her chosen field. ROTC scholarship qualifications include achieving a minimum 2.5 GPA, as well as 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.
Health Science Linkage Programs
The Linkage System is a cooperative agreement among four state and community colleges in the Tampa Bay Area: Hillsborough Community College, Pasco-Hernando State College, Polk State College, and St. Petersburg College. Polk State College also has a linkage agreement with Valencia 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. A student who has been selected for admission to a Linkage Program at a college out of his or her district is required to meet 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 Polk State College academic advisor.
Note: Application deadlines vary by program; a student should work with a Polk State College 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:
Students from one of the other three linkage colleges (Hillsborough Community College, Pasco Hernando State College, and St. Petersburg College) who wish to pursue a health science program at Polk State College through the Linkage Agreement can select from the following Polk State 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.