We describe herein the synthesis of metallic copper nanoparticles in the presence of poly(vinylpyrrolidone), employed as a protecting agent, via a polyol method in ambient atmosphere. The obtained copper particles were confirmed by XRD to be crystalline copper with a face-centered cubic (fcc) structure. We observed monodisperse spherical copper nanoparticles with a diameter range 45+/-8 nm. The particle size and its distribution are controlled by varying the synthesis parameters such as the reducing agent concentration, reaction temperature, and precursor injection rate. The precursor injection rate plays an important role in controlling the size of the copper nanoparticles. On the basis of XPS and HRTEM results, we demonstrate that the surface of the copper is surrounded by amorphous CuO and that poly(vinylpyrrolidone) is chemisorbed on the copper surface.