Magnetic core/shell nanospheres (MCS) were synthesized by a novel and facile one-step hydrothermal method. Supported manganese oxide nanoparticles (Fe3O4/C/Mn) were obtained from various methods (including redox, hydrothermal and impregnation) using MCS as the support material and potassium permanganate as the precursor of manganese oxide. The Mn/MCS catalysts were characterized by a variety of characterization techniques and the catalytic performances of Fe3O4/C/Mn nanoparticles were tested in activation of peroxymonosulfate to produce reactive radicals for phenol degradation in aqueous solutions. It was found that Fe3O4/C/Mn catalysts can be well dispersed and easily separated from the aqueous solutions by an external magnetic field. Kinetic analysis showed that phenol degradation on Fe3O4/C/Mn catalysts follows the first order kinetics. The peroxymonosulfate activation mechanism by Fe3O4/C/Mn catalysts for phenol degradation was then discussed.