This paper addresses some of the issues related to determining the postgraduate education needs of nurses and the development of a locally appropriate framework for postgraduate nursing education in a country newly embarking on tertiary education for nurses. It reports part of a survey conducted among graduate nurses in Hong Kong, with reference to their expectations for locally prepared and presented higher education that will equip them for expert practice in their chosen specialty. Over 700 nurses participated in the survey, representing almost 50% of the graduate nurse population. The findings reported here provide a qualitative insight into the reasons underlying their preferences, the difficulties they experience in pursuing further education and the reasons why pragmatic rather than preferred choices must be made. It will be argued that these are important considerations in planning for future developments in postgraduate education in Hong Kong. They may also prove useful to countries facing similar developments.