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What to Bring or Buy? 

It is important that you keep your most valuable items with you on the plane.  We recommend cash, credit cards, and travelers' checks are carried in a discreet money belt.  Be sure to carry with you:

  • Airline ticket(s) for your flight(s) to New York
  • Any prescription medications that you need to bring, with the written  prescriptions from your doctor
  • Your passport, valid at least six months into the future, with a valid visa stamp (only Canadian citizens will not need a visa stamp)
  • Form I-20 or DS-2019
  • Your Stony Brook admission letter and proof of financial support
  • One complete change of clothing and toiletries, in the event that your checked luggage is delayed
  • Your driver's license and a translation, or "international driver's license," if you intend to drive
  • A campus map, available online here.

Students may wish to bring items from home, such as photographs, crafts, art, and music to decorate their new residence and to share aspects of their home country's culture with new friends.

Basic furniture is provided in campus residence halls, but plan to buy a lamp (no halogen lamps are allowed in the residence halls), light bulbs, clock/radio, bulletin board, pillows, bed linens, and towels.  Warm blankets or a "comforter" will be necessary for our cold winter nights.

For a list of recommended items for your room as well as prohibited items in the residence halls, please refer to this page provided by Campus Residences.

Current students recommend bringing a sheet, towel, and a few toiletries to use until you have a chance to go shopping.  Some students also recommend bringing a few basic cooking implements, particularly if these items are much cheaper in your home country. 

While the following items may be purchased locally, we recommend bringing at least some of them to begin your stay.  Just remember, if you pack it, you're going to have to carry it around at least two airports!


Medicine and Toiletries

 1 pair of walking shoes

Prescription medicines*

 1 alternate pair of shoes

Eyeglasses/sunglasses or contact lenses and supplies

 1 pair flip-flops or shower shoes

Toothbrush and  toothpaste

 6 pairs of socks

Soap and shampoo

 6 pairs of underwear


 1-2 pairs of shorts

Moisturizers and cosmetics

 2-4 skirts and/or trousers

Deodorant or antiperspirant

  2-4 shirts


 2-4 sweaters and/or sweatshirts




 Bathing suit

Reusable shopping bags

 Heavy winter jacket


 Winter hat


 Pair of gloves or mittens




 Pair of waterproof boots or overshoes


 Lightweight jacket




*You may be unable to get prescriptions written by your home doctor filled in the United States.  Typically, you will need to be examined by a physician in the United States and issued a new prescription.  If you have a chronic medical condition requiring regular medication, please contact Student Health Services before arrival to make arrangements.

Shopping for Supplies

Throughout the year, there is local bus service from campus to several shopping centers and grocery stores to accommodate the purchase of food and personal supplies such as toiletries, bedding, and bicycles.

Be careful to budget your spending, especially in the first few weeks of school.  Resist buying luxury items on impulse. The same items will be available later when you have a better idea of how much discretionary spending you can afford.

The Shop Red West (Lower Level Melville Library) and Shop Red East (Health Sciences, Level 2 Room 310) are retail stores on campus where you can purchase many of the necessities you need instead of carrying it through your long journey.  The store sells flip flops, t-shirts, sweatshirts, rain ponchos, gloves, mittens, scarves, lightweight jackets, toiletries such as toothpaste, shampoo, and deodorant, household supplies such as laundry detergent and fabric softener, and computer/electronic supplies such as tv and computer cables, batteries, iPods, laptops and printers.



Standard references in your native language may be helpful to get started.  Excellent library resources provide students with ample opportunity to obtain supplemental reading materials, and basic texts needed for review and research.

Students are expected to purchase textbooks required for the courses in which they enroll.  Course texts are available through the official Stony Brook Bookstore at  Students may be able to save money by purchasing used textbooks. When purchasing a used textbook make sure it is the required edition of the text for your course.

We do not recommend bringing textbooks used in previous studies unless they are specifically needed for transfer credit evaluation.  Transfer students applying to receive advanced credit for courses taken elsewhere must provide an official course description for each course for which Stony Brook University credit is sought.  You may also need the names of textbooks.  Undergraduate students should contact Undergraduate Admissions for specific requirements for transfer credit.

Climate and Clothing

Individual tolerances for heat and cold vary considerably so the following are merely guidelines.  Students from tropical climates may consider warm sweaters to be essential, even in summer, as most public buildings are air-conditioned from May through September.





(June – September)

50 to 90F = 10 to 32C

Wear light clothing for hot days and light jackets for cool nights.


(September– December)

20 to 80F = -7 to 27C

Layer clothing on chilly autumn days; raincoats or medium-weight coats or ski jackets are worn outdoors.


(December – March)

0 to 45F = -18 to 7C

In winter, heavy jackets/coats, warm hats, scarves, gloves, and waterproof snow boots are necessary.


(March – June)

40 to 72F = 4 to 22C

Like fall, layer clothing.  Spring can be rainy and cool, warming on sunny afternoons.