The heads of conglomerates involved in the scandal have also been jailed.
On Friday in a live screening of trial on television, South Korean Central District Court proclaimed her guilty.
"The defendant abused the presidential authority delegated from the people of this country and it resulted in a large amount of chaos in terms of public order and state management", said Judge Kim Se-yun in translated comments carried by local news agency Yonhap.
The court, which said Park had little "sign of repentance" over the verdict, held that she had worked with her childhood and close friend Choi Soon-sil to force electronics giant like Samsung and retail chain Lotte to give millions of dollars to the latter's foundations.
The trigger was a snowballing graft scandal involving Park and Choi and accusations of graft, influence-peddling and taking bribes from corporate bigwigs in exchange for policy favours.
In December 2016, South Korean legislators overwhelmingly voted to impeach Park, but she refused to resign, instead offering an apology while denying any legal wrongdoing.
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Park still has supporters, though, and they turned up Friday before the court proceedings began. They waved South Korean and USA flags and held signs that read, among other things, "Stop murderous political revenge!" There were no immediate reports of major clashes or injuries. Her impeachment was upheld by the Constitutional Court in March 2017.
Park who was impeached by South Korea's parliament on 9 December 2016 is now under arrest at the Seoul detention center.
The corruption scandal triggered months of mass protests and political turmoil in South Korea.
Impeached and removed from office Park is the third former South Korean leader to stand trial for corruption. But he's also remembered for imprisoning and torturing dissidents.
"Given her attitude and public anger over her scandal that remains raw, it will be hard to create a political environment in favour of her release any time soon", Jeong told AFP.
2012: Park wins the presidency by defeating her main liberal rival, Moon Jae-in.
In 1974, Park's mother was assassinated by a North Korean sympathizer who was trying to kill her father. But her relations with the Choi family have long haunted her political career.
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Park was also found guilty of ordering an aide to leak government secrets to Choi. She has previously maintained her innocence.
She was charged and arrested soon after her dismissal from office.
The presidential Blue House said in a statement after the verdict: "Each person must have different feelings about former President Park Geun-Hye".
Park's successor described the sentencing as a "heartbreaking event" for both the nation and the ex-leader herself.
Roh Moo-hyun, president from 2003-2008, was accused of accepting millions of dollars in bribes.
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