These glutathione (GSH)-conjugated CdTe/CdSe core/shell quantum dot (QD) nanoparticles in aqueous solution were synthesized using a microwave-assisted approach. The prepared type II core/shell QD nanoparticles were characterized by UV-Vis absorption, photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy, X-ray powder diffraction (XRD) and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM). Results revealed that the QD nanoparticles exhibited good dispersity, a uniform size distribution and tunable fluorescence emission in the near-infrared (NIR) region. In addition, these nanoparticles exhibited good biocompatibility and photoluminescence in cell imaging. In particular, this type of core/shell NIR QDs may have potential applications in molecular imaging.