Jun 25, 2024  
Catalog/Handbook 2023-2024 
Catalog/Handbook 2023-2024

Program Information

Most programs of study at Polk State College lead to an associate degree or a certificate. Polk State also offers the following baccalaureate degrees for students who hold applicable associate degrees: the Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Supervision and Management, Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Science (BS) in Aerospace Sciences, Bachelor of Science (BS) in Early Childhood Education, and Bachelor of Science (BS) in Elementary Education. Additionally, a student with an associate degree in Nursing and 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. In each of these programs, the specific credit requirement 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 include college Developmental Education courses in the areas of writing, reading, and mathematics, as well as English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses. A student may be placed in these types of courses based on scores on standardized placement tests or scores on diagnostic assessments in gateway courses.

General Education

The purpose of the General Education curriculum is to provide each Polk State College student with varied opportunities to integrate knowledge, skills, attitudes, and experiences that are essential for success in higher learning, and for 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 needed to become a well-educated citizen capable of participating fully, effectively, and productively in a global community. In addition, General Education courses infuse topics related to cultural diversity, ethics, and social responsibility.

Educational Outcomes

Through completion of the General Education core requirements, a Polk State College Associate in Arts degree graduate is able to demonstrate skills in the following areas as indicated:

1. Communication

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.

The 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. A student applying for the Honors Program must have demonstrated the ability to achieve excellence through academic pursuits. 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 Program courses incorporate smaller class sizes, enabling students and faculty to form a close-knit learning community.

A student must have one of the following criteria to be admitted to the Honors Program:

  • An unweighted high school GPA of 3.5 or higher.*
  • A combined SAT score of 1100 (or higher) on the Mathematics and Critical Reading sections.
  • An ACT composite score of 25 or higher.
  • An overall college GPA of 3.2 or higher.*
  • PERT scores of 120 (or above) on both the Writing and Reading sections.

    *Note: Once a student has registered and taken classes at Polk State College, the Polk State College GPA takes precedence.

Each Honors Program course taken is specially designated on the transcript. To receive the Honors Program gold seal on the diploma, the student must complete a minimum of 18 Honors Program credit hours and graduate from Polk State College with a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher.

Program Benefits:

  • Smaller class sizes
  • Field trips, seminars, and conference opportunities
  • Enriched learning opportunities
  • Priority registration
  • Scholarship opportunities
  • Honors course designation on the transcript
  • Honors Program gold seal on the diploma
  • Special recognition at graduation

More information about the Polk State College Honors Program can be obtained through a Student Success Advisor, the Honors Program website (https://www.polk.edu/honors-program/), or email (honors@polk.edu). Additionally, the program’s Facebook page provides the latest information on events (@pschonorsprogram).

Global Studies Program

The Polk State College Global Studies Program is designed to provide multicultural and transnational educational opportunities and experiences for students living and working in an increasingly globally connected society. The Global Studies Program is designed to develop a student’s 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 the student’s awareness of the personal and professional experiences of individuals across the globe. The student must complete a minimum of 15 credit hours in designated Global Studies courses, attend five cultural events while enrolled in the program, and develop a global resume and e-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 the student 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 during faculty-led, short-term activities. A student 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 Certificate Programs    

The primary purpose of the Associate in Science (AS) degree programs, as well as certificate programs, is to prepare students for employment in specific occupational and technical fields. To differing extents, both program types prepare students for additional education. Each program contains 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 (SUS) programs. Additionally, all AS programs qualify a student to apply for admission to Polk State’s Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Supervision and Management, Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Science (BS) in Aerospace Sciences, Bachelor of Science (BS) in Early Childhood Education, or Bachelor of Science (BS) in Elementary Education program. An AS graduate who transfers to a public four-year institution in Florida (or who pursues a Polk State baccalaureate program) is required to take additional General Education courses to earn a bachelor’s degree. The student should refer to specific institutional requirements for more information.

The program-specific Academic Dean 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 that enrolled students are provided an efficient transition for completion of the selected program.

Associate in Science General Education Requirements

Each student must successfully complete the General Education requirements listed in each program or program option; specific course requirements are listed for each.

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 Associate in Science (AS) and baccalaureate programs offer an internship course as a requirement or as an elective: Aerospace (AS and BAS), Business Administration (AS), Computer Network Engineering, Computer Systems and Business Analysis (AS), Criminal Justice (AS), Digital Media Technology (AS), Early Childhood Education and Management (AS), Engineering Technology, Supervision and Management (BAS), and Supply Chain Management (AS). Polk State’s health science programs (e.g., Nursing and Physical Therapy Assistant programs) have a clinical sequence required as part of the curriculum. The information below refers only to internship and practicum experiences in non-health science AS and baccalaureate programs:

  • Internship and practicum courses are taken 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 and approved by the College by the final day of the Drop/Add Period, or he or she must drop the internship course to prevent earning an Incomplete grade.
  • If the assignments, hours, or some other aspect of the internship’s 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 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 must comply with the criteria of the Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
  • Each student must check the specific program of study regarding the details of course-credit internships.

An Associate in Arts student can enroll in GEB2940 Business Administration Internship or SLS 2941 Internship: Professional Experience and Organizational Culture to seek college credit for an internship experience.

For more information, a student can review the Internship Program 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 a limited-admission program is a separate 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). A student may be denied admission to the program based on the results of this background screening. 

Additionally, a Social Security Number (SSN) is required for an individual to be issued a certificate or license by the Florida Department of Health, the state’s healthcare licensing authority. An individual applying for admission to a Polk State College healthcare program should 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 contained within an associate degree program (AS or AAS). This program of study leads to employment in a specific occupational field.

Credit Certificates

A College Credit Certificate is a program of study of fewer than 60 credits that consists of courses contained within an associate 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 that contains between nine to 45 career and technical credits. A student 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 degree.

Vocational Certificates

A Vocational Certificate is a program of study containing 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 professional curricula and programs designed 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. Housed at the Center for Public Safety, the KCTIPS facilities include ten standard classrooms, three tiered classrooms, a defensive training space, forensics crime scene lab, and a firearms simulation space. The center is located adjacent to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Operations Center. The Kenneth C. Thompson Institute of Public Safety’s webpage on the College website provides contact and registration information.

KCTIPS certificate programs are taught at the Post-Secondary 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 seven to eight hours of study outside of the classroom for 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 opportunity through which Polk State College students can participate in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Program offered through FSC’s Department of Military Science. The student takes courses at the FSC campus, and credit earned in these courses becomes part of the student’s permanent record.

A student taking ROTC courses during the first two years of college incurs no service obligation. Each qualifying student can apply for a two- or three-year Army ROTC scholarship that pays for tuition, books, materials, and fees; it also provides a monthly stipend (i.e., a freshman receives $300, and this amount culminates to $500 during the senior year). Each scholarship recipient receives free room and board if he or she transfers to either Florida Southern College or Southeastern University. A student interested in the ROTC Program should enroll in an Associate in Arts (AA) transfer major leading to a degree in his or her chosen field. To qualify for an ROTC scholarship, the student must achieve a minimum 2.5 GPA and meet other criteria as determined by the ROTC Cadet Command. For more information, a student should contact the ROTC Enrollment Officer at Florida Southern College in person or by phone (863.680.4241). 

Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC)

Polk State College and the University of South Florida (USF) maintain a cross-town agreement that allows Polk State students to participate in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training (AFROTC) Program through USF’s Department of Aerospace Studies. The student takes AFROTC courses on the USF campus. Credit earned in these courses becomes part of the student’s permanent academic record at USF, but it may not necessarily apply to a student’s degree program at Polk State College.

To be eligible, the student must be enrolled full-time in a Polk State academic program leading towards a baccalaureate degree or be eligible to transfer to a USF baccalaureate degree program upon completion of an associate degree program.  The student must maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA and is expected to participate in a weekly non-credit leadership laboratory and physical fitness program to remain in the AFROTC Program.

A transitioning high school student may apply for a four-year academic scholarship; a college student can apply for (or be awarded) a two- or three-year competitive scholarship. AFROTC scholarships pay for tuition, books, materials, and certain fees, as well as provide a monthly stipend ranging from $300 to $500. A student is not required to be on a scholarship to enter or complete the AFROTC Program.

A non-scholarship student taking lower-division (i.e., 1000 to 2000 level) AFROTC courses incurs no service commitment. A student who completes both a baccalaureate degree and the AFROTC Program requirements is eligible to commission as a Second Lieutenant and enter the active-duty United States Air Force.

For more information, a student may contact the USF AFROTC recruiting officer (telephone: 813.974.3367, email: afrotc@usf.edu).

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 at other colleges on a quota-based system. 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 abide by 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 Student Success 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
    • Dental Hygiene
  • Pasco-Hernando Community College:
    • Dental Hygiene
  • St. Petersburg College:
    • Dental Hygiene
  • Valencia College:
    • Dental Hygiene

A student from any of the other three linkage colleges (i.e., Hillsborough Community College, Pasco-Hernando State College, or St. Petersburg College) who wishes to pursue a health science program at Polk State College through the Linkage Program can select from the following Polk State programs (i.e., as long as the program does not exist at the student’s home college):

  • Cardiovascular Technology
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Respiratory Care

For more information, a student should contact an academic advisor at his or her home college about participating in the Linkage Program.