Abstract A series of nickel phosphide/SBA-15/cordierite monolithic catalysts with Ni contents from 2.5 wt.% to 12.4 wt.% and initial P/Ni molar ratio of 1/2 were prepared and their activity for the hydrodesufurization (HDS) of dibenzothiophene (DBT) was evaluated. The structure of the catalysts was investigated by X-ray diffraction (XRD), N 2 adsorption–desorption isotherms and scanning electron microscope (SEM). The results showed that the nickel phosphides phase had not been observed in the monolithic catalysts when Ni content was less than 7.4 wt.%. The Ni 2P phase and Ni 12P 5 phase were found when Ni content was from 9.9 wt.% to 12.4 wt.%. The DBT conversion can reach 99.2% at 380 °C when Ni content was 9.9 wt.%. The activity of the monolithic catalyst was as good as that for the nickel phosphide/SBA-15 powder catalyst at 380 °C for the HDS of DBT, which indicated that there was no diffusive restriction on monolithic catalysts. Biphenyl (BP) selectivity over the monolithic catalysts was evidently higher than that for the nickel phosphide/SBA-15 powder catalyst when the temperature was over 320 °C.