Environmental pollutants, such as the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs),become widely distributed in the environment after emission from a range of sources, and they have potential biological effects, including toxicity and carcinogenity. In this work, we have demonstrated the analytical potential of a covalently linked L-cysteine-capped CdSeTe/ZnSe/ZnS core/shell/shell quantum dot (QD)-graphene oxide (GO) nanocomposite fluorescence probe to detect PAH compounds in aqueous solution. Water-soluble L-cysteine-capped CdSeTe/ZnSe/ZnS QDs were synthesized for the first time and were covalently bonded to GO. The fluorescence of the QD-GO nanocomposite was enhanced relative to the unconjugated QDs. Various techniques including TEM, SEM, HRSEM, XRD, Raman, FT-IR, UV/vis and fluorescence spectrophotometry were employed to characterize both the QDs and the QD-GO nanocomposite. Four commonly found priority PAH analytes namely; phenanthrene (Phe), anthracene (Ant), pyrene (Py) and naphthalene (Naph), were tested and it was found that each of the PAH analytes enhanced the fluorescence of the QD-GO probe. Phe was selected for further studies as the PL enhancement was significantly greater for this PAH. A limit of detection (LOD) of 0.19 μg/L was obtained for Phe under optimum conditions, whilst the LOD of Ant, Py and Naph were estimated to be ~0.26 μg/L. The fluorescence detection mechanism is proposed.