Nanoscale magnetic/luminescent core-shell particles were used for DNA quantification in a hybridization-in-solution format. We demonstrated a simple, high-throughput, and non-PCR based DNA assay for quantifying antibiotic resistance gene tetQ. Fe3O4/Eu:Gd2O3 nanoparticles (NPs) synthesized by spray pyrolysis were biofunctionalized by passive adsorption of NeutrAvidin. Following immobilization of biotinylated probe DNA on the particles' surfaces, target dsDNA and signaling probe DNA labeled with Cy3 were hybridized with NPs-probe DNA. Hybridized DNA complexes were separated from solution by a magnet, while non-hybridized DNA remained in solution. A linear quantification (R2 = 0.99) of a target tetQ gene was achieved based on the normalized fluorescence (Cy3/NPs) of DNA-NP hybrids. A real-time qPCR assay was used for evaluation of the NPs assay sensitivity and range of quantification. The quantity of antibiotic resistance tetQ genes in activated sludge microcosms, with and without addition of tetracycline or triclosan has been determined, indicating the potential of the optimized assay for monitoring the level of antibiotic resistance in environmental samples. In addition, the tetQ gene copy numbers in microcosms determined by NP-hybridization were well correlated with the numbers measured by real-time qPCR assay (R2 = 0.92).