Titania and materials containing titania have received considerable attention due to their technological importance in many areas. In this study, anatase crystalline titania (TiO2) coated polystyrene (PS) colloidal particles were successfully prepared in two easy steps. First, a one pot synthesis of the colloidal particles was produced via an emulsifier-free emulsion copolymerization of styrene (S) and 2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate (DMA) at pH 4.0. In the second step, the synthesized particles were coated by titania using a sol-gel process in-situ hydrolysis and a condensation reaction of titanium(IV) isopropoxide in an acidic aqueous solution. In this way, anatase crystalline titania, rather than the usual amorphous form, was obtained as a shell on the PS colloidal particles. Both the PS colloidal particles and the polystyrene/anatase titania (PS/TiO2) core/shell colloidal particles had monodisperse morphology and were characterized using SEM, Zetasizer, FTIR, XRD and TGA techniques or measurements. In addition, the photocatalytic activity of the PS/TiO2 core/shell particles was tested for the first time in an oxidation reaction, in the oxidation of 4-methoxybenzyl alcohol (MBA) with O-2 in water. Much higher selectivities of the target product, p-anisaldehyde (AA), were obtained with the PS/TiO2 core/shell particles than with a commercial anatase crystalline TiO2. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.