She cited sickness as the reason for not appearing for the verdict.
The verdict was read out on a national television by Judge Kim Se-yun at Seoul Central District Court.
The judge said that Park's lawyers have one week to appeal the sentence.
She has also been fined $16million (£11.4million).
South Korea has been in turmoil since 2016 when it was revealed how much adviser and close confidant Choi Soon-sil wielded power over Park.
At the centre of the scandal that toppled Park's government is the allegation that she and Choi, collected or demanded large bribes from three big businesses, including Samsung, the country's largest family-controlled conglomerate.
Park's impeachment past year followed months of protests against her by younger, liberal voters who will be hoping the court ruling will represent a major step towards ending the old, self-serving collusion between political leaders and the chaebol conglomerates. Park protested about the live broadcast a day ago, but the authorities allowed today's verdict to be broadcast live for extraordinary public interests.
Park's was impeached a year ago after news of an information peddling scandal led to hundreds of thousands of South Koreans taking to the streets of the capital in protest in what has been dubbed the Candlelight Revolution.
The conviction was shown live - an unprecedented move in the country's history.
Park, 66, is the daughter of former South Korean military leader Park Chung-hee.
Now 85, Roh also received a presidential pardon and walked free on the same day as Chun in 1997, albeit from a different prison.
The corruption scandal triggered months of mass protests and political turmoil in South Korea. A presidential election in May saw the victory of liberal Moon Jae-in, whose administration has overseen a thawing of relations between South and North Korea. A tragic figure after the separate assassinations of her mother and father in the 1970s, she rose to political prominence helped by nostalgia for her father's rule. She was also charged with soliciting bribes from the head of the Samsung Group for government favours. The president's conservative rivals claim he's motivated by political revenge.
Park has legions of loyal supporters, a lot of them older conservatives who remember her father's authoritarian 18-year rule, beginning in 1961, when their country began its remarkable surge toward becoming an economic power.