I am writing a proposal for a semester of paper reading and small projects that will result in a thesis proposal. The proposal will include 1) a thesis general thesis topic 2) specialized training 3) a reading list 4) a timeline. Which document class best fits this sort of document?
According to @cfr,
article class is an obviously good starting point.
However, if you are in control of the document layout (that is, you should not adhere to a template) and want something more fancy, I'd suggest you the
tufte-latex document class (available on ctan).
I recently wrote a proposal with the same purpose as yours, and --besides the proposal content itself-- it was very well received.
The sample-handout.pdf is a nice display of all the class features.