Transition metal-modified carbon-based adsorbents were prepared by impregnating activated carbon with solutions of copper, cobalt or nickel chloride or nitrate. The mixtures were dried and then calcined under nitrogen stream. The surface metal species were analyzed by XRD technique and the surface oxygen-containing groups were characterized by FTIR. Their adsorption capacities for dibenzothiophene (DBT) were measured by using DBT-containing n-octane solution as model oil. Experimental results show that the metal species on the carbon surface could be controlled by the calcination process under nitrogen atmosphere. Both the transition metal precursors and kinds of metal species on the carbon surface have significant effects on DBT adsorption capacity.