Wang Yongjia, born in 1933 in Shanghai, graduated from Northeastern University of Technology in 1954, and then started teaching at the university. In 1980, Wang was enrolled in the University of Minnesota and received a doctorate degree in geo-engineering in 1983.
Wang came back to Northeastern University of Technology (now Northeastern University) and served successively as the director of Computation Center and the vice-director of Graduate School. In 1992, Wang received the special allowance from the State Council.
Wang was regarded as one of the founders of Chinese calculation of rock mechanics. He served as a visiting professor at Australian Rock-soil Mechanics Institute, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Geology Institute of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and China University of Mining and Technology. In addition, Wang served as a member of China Coal Society, International Society for Rock Mechanics (Chinese team), and International Society of Rock-soil Mechanics Computation Techniques.