Activated carbon/CuO (AC/CuO) composites were prepared through a facile one-step hydrothermal method and used as a bifunctional material for adsorption and catalysis degradation of bisphenol A (BPA). The composite was characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and X-ray powder diffraction (XRD). The obtained AC/CuO exhibited excellent adsorption and catalytic performance. The maximum adsorption capacity of BPA on the AC/CuO was 319.03 mg/g according to the Langmuir fitting. At an initial BPA concentration of 20 mg/L, the BPA degradation efficiencies were maintained above 96% for 15 min by using 20 mg/L AC/CuO and 2 mM peroxymonosulfate (PMS). Moreover, the relationship between adsorption and catalytic degradation was also investigated. The results indicated that the pre-adsorption disfavored the degradation reaction. This work not only provides a novel preparation method for AC/CuO catalyst, but also gives a deeper insight into the mechanisms between adsorption and catalytic degradation.