She had previously pleaded guilty to paying to rig her daughter’s college entrance exam.
US District Judge Indira Talwani sentenced Huffman, the 56-year-old former star of the popular television series Desperate Housewives and one-time Academy Award nominee, in federal court in Boston.
The judge also ordered Huffman to pay a $US30,000 ($A44,000) fine and complete 250 hours of community service.
"My first apology is to you," Huffman told the judge immediately before the sentence was issued on Friday.
"I realise now as a mother that love and truth must go hand in hand, and love at the expense of truth is not real love," the actress said. "I will deserve whatever punishment you give me," she added.
Huffman was released from court after the judge ordered her to report to prison on October 25.
The actress and her husband, actor William H. Macy, looked sombre when they arrived at the federal courthouse, holding hands, ahead of the sentencing.
Huffman is among 51 people charged in a vast scheme in which wealthy parents were accused of conspiring to use bribery and other forms of fraud to secure for their children admission to prominent US universities. These schools included Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, the University of Southern California, the University of Texas and Wake Forest.
More than 30 parents were charged in the investigation dubbed Operation Varsity Blues, including actress Lori Loughlin who starred in the TV series Full House and her designer husband Mossimo Giannulli, as well as a host of corporate executives, financiers and lawyers. Unlike Huffman, Loughlin and Giannulli pleaded not guilty.